The Gift of
Harry H. Griggs
In Memory of
Ethel B. Milam
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation
by HOWARD STEPHENSON, ll. d.
President, Community Relations, Inc.; Chairman, Division of Public
Relations, School of Public Relations and Communications, Boston University;
formerly Lecturer in Public Relations, New York University
and WESLEY FISKE PRATZNER, b.s., m.s.
Acting Dean and Professor of Public Relations, School of Public
Relations and Communications, Boston University
Foreword by HAROLD C. CASE, s.t.b., d.d., litt. d.
President, Boston University
1953 McGRAW-HILL BOOK COMPANY, INC
NEW YORK TORONTO LONDON
PUBLICITY FOR PRESTIGE AND PROFIT
Copyright, 1953, by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. Printed in the
United States of America. All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof,
may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the publishers.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 53-9885
Thoughtful readers have been waiting for a book on pub-
licity with an emphasis on quality of merchandise to be
publicized and on strict adherence to the truth in talking
about the product. There is a suspicion among people who
read, or listen, or look that much publicity is designed to
sell goods without too much concern for the facts about the
The authors of Publicity for Prestige and Profit see pres-
tige as "weight or influence derived from past success." They
regard conduct as the key to the message, and expertness in
stating the value of the product as an essential ingredient of
Dr. Howard Stephenson and Professor Wesley Pratzner
are experienced public relations counselors for industry, and
their emphasis on publicity as a basic component for effec-
tiveness in their profession provides persuasive argument for
the proper use of good publicity and the resulting prestige.
Incentive has become a key word in American industry.
High wages, good working conditions, satisfaction among
employees, and their enjoyment of high standards of living
are so typical as to be called "the American way in indus-
try." At the same time, the regularity and consistencv of
profit for the enterprise is necessary to a healthy economic
When profit is regarded as legitimate return for good per-
formance rather than undisciplined greed, there is a basis
for understanding the operation of industry. The free ex-
change of ideas, conferences between employees and man-
agement, the exposure to public forums, have brought proper
checks and balances to industry. The new sense of total
community responsibility for the health and welfare of em-
ployees, for the long-range training of executives, for the sup-
port of education and of other worthy projects, has brought
industry into a new position in the eyes of the public.
Public relations officers have exerted vast influence in this
important area. Education and industry are recognizing their
responsibility to their generation and moving into a partner-
ship that has merit and promise.
This book exhibits a thoughtful understanding of ideals,
far beyond mere profit, that motivate business and industry
today. The authors also present a convincing thesis for the
improvement of understanding and liaison between business
and education in order that they may join hands in serving
the general public.
Publicity for Prestige and Profit is a practical book. It
will prove to be useful to students and practitioners alike.
I have found it so as I have read it in manuscript. It tells how
publicity and public relations are developed with effective-
ness. Probably its most important contribution will be the
discussion by the authors of the "why" of public relations
and publicity. In the important field of public relations, this
original and stimulating book will strengthen the hands of
the leaders who are determined to develop a high-level pro-
fession with growing influence on the American scene.
HAROLD C. CASE
President, Boston University
One of the valued elements of the typical American enter-
prise is the prestige it gains and holds among the people on
whose sufferance its success depends.
This applies to the commercial, business, or industrial
company or association, the nonprofit foundation or other
social agency, and the governmental unit. To survive, each
must acquire a measure of prestige.
Publicity, the basic component of the art of cultivating
good public relations, is a major means of developing pres-
In this book we have tried to clarify the position and func-
tion of publicity in the American economy. The treatment is
informal rather than scholarly. The subject matter is based
upon our own experience in public relations and that of
other practitioners. It has been used in teaching adult and
undergraduate students, and much of the chapter on Reach-
ing the Public: Audiences has appeared in Industrial Market-
The groups to which the book is primarily directed are
administrators of American enterprises who wish a practical
acquaintance with the methods and conduct of publicity and
related activities; professional public relations practitioners,
men and women, who may use it as a reference and guide
and as a text for the training of personnel; and college stu-
dents of public relations and journalism.
Responsibility for statements in the book is exclusively
that of the authors. To two public relations counselors in
particular we owe special gratitude for the growth of our
own conceptions of the philosophy and functions of pub-
licity: G. Edward Pendray, senior partner of Pendray and
Company and formerly assistant to the president of West-
inghouse Electric Corporation, and John W. Hill, president
of Hill & Knowlton, Inc.
Thanks are also given to the following, whose careful
reading and constructive comments on all or portions of the
book have reduced its errors and added to its content:
Howard W. Allen, Johns-Man ville Corporation; James A.
Baubie, the Chrysler Corporation; Wendell Buck, public re-
lations counselor; Harold Burson, Burson-Marstelle Com-
pany; Tom Compere, Compere & Associates; Dr. Amo
DeBernardis, Hill & Knowlton, Inc.; John J. Ducas, Hill &
Knowlton, Inc.; Milton Fairman, The Borden Company;
Harold Flynn, Jones and Breakley; Henry Clay Gipson, Film-
fax Productions; George Glassman, United Press Special
Harriet Gormley, Westinghouse Electric Corporation; Bert
C. Goss, Hill & Knowlton, Inc.; Samuel B. Gould, Cresap,
McCormick & Paget; Merrick T. Jackson, Hill & Knowlton,
Inc.; Charles P. Johnson, Westinghouse Electric Corporation;
Clarence Judd, Fairchild Publications; M. R. Kaufmann, Hill
& Knowlton, Inc.; Kerryn King, Hill & Knowlton, Inc.; Dr.
Howard M. LeSourd; Floyd A. Lewis, Dudley, Anderson and
Yutzy; Noel J. MacCarry, Lederle Laboratories Division,
American Cyanamid Company,
Farley Manning, Dudley, Anderson and Yutzy; Robert
McDevitt, Pendray and Company; John Moynahan, Moyna-
han Associates; Walter H. Neff, United Air Lines; Howard
P. Quadland, H. P. Quadland Company; Stewart Schackne,
Standard Oil Company (N.J.); Weston Smith, Financial
World; Stephen D. Smoke, Hill & Knowlton, Inc.; Dr. David
M. White, Boston University; Robert E. Williams, Associa-
tion of Consulting Management Engineers; Rader Winget,
The Associated Press; Lawrence E. Witte, National Associa-
tion of Manufacturers; and Thomas D. Yutzy, Dudley, An-
derson and Yutzy.
WESLEY F. PRATZNER
1 PUBLICITY IN PUBLIC RELATIONS 1
2 HOW TO CULTIVATE NEWS SOURCES 10
3 REACHING THE PUBLIC: THE PRESS 36
4 REACHING THE PUBLIC: MAGAZINES 49
5 REACHING THE PUBLIC: BOOKS 64
6 REACHING THE PUBLIC: AUDIENCES 69
7 NEWS RELEASES 83
8 FEATURE ARTICLES 96
9 INDUSTRIAL PHOTOGRAPHY 108
10 TELEVISION AND RADIO 127
11 PUBLICITY ON THE SCREEN 142
12 PAMPHLETS, BROCHURES, AND MANUALS 164
13 CORPORATE JOURNALISM 178
14 PUBLICITY FOR INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITS 190
15 EXPLORING FOR HIDDEN TREASURE 204
16 COMMUNITY RELATIONS: AN INVESTMENT 217
17 COMMUNITY RELATIONS IN ACTION 230
18 WHEN THE NEWS IS BAD 249
19 THE COSTS OF PUBLICITY 260
20 PLANNING A PUBLICITY BUDGET 268
21 TOWARD MATURITY 278
chapter 1 Publicity in Public Relations
Half the news just happens, like a million-dollar fire, a
drought that threatens a city's water supply, or the traffic
death toll on a holiday week end. This kind of news tends to
be dolorous but can include happy events, as when brother
and sister, torn from each other by the Nazis, meet on a
street in America. But it depends on chance. The public's
interest is caused by surprise.
Accidental news is the result of the unforeseen, the un-
Half the remainder is not accidental, but incidental: the
Dodgers win in the eleventh, the stock market hits a new
high, or the Supreme Court bans price fixing and a buyers'
Incidental news depends on the outcome of a struggle. You
can't know in advance which way the contest will go, but
you are prepared for some decision. The public's interest,
built up day by day, is based on expectation.
The final one-fourth is planned news. Somebody sets out
to make things happen, to call attention to himself, his wares,
or his idea. Next year's auto models are put on display.
They make headlines. A scientist predicts that the sea may
yield our future food supply. The news hits front page. A
union calls a crippling strike. Programs on the air arc intcr-
2 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
rupted for a flash news bulletin. The public's interest has
been carefully cultivated.
Planned news is publicity. Unlike accidental and incidental
news, it is produced with the deliberate intent of persuading
and influencing people to take action— buy goods or services,
support a cause, approve past conduct. Since the strongest
argument is always the truth, the great mass of publicity
consists of information.
The man who wants to reach public attention may make
a speech. He may buy advertising space or time. He may put
on a show. He may merely distribute a statement. Whatever
method of modern publicity he uses, his target is the public.
This may mean the entire nation or only a selected group.
If he is experienced, he fits the ammunition to the target
and does not try to interest people whose interest would do
him no particular good. This is known as restraint.
Look through your daily newspaper, and you'll find traces
of the work of professional publicity people in about one-
fourth of the news and feature articles and photographs.
Business and general magazines, radio and television pro-
grams, yield like evidence, in varying proportions.
Government, business, labor, educational, and social groups
tell of their good works and explain their difficulties day in
and day out, often around the clock. To channel the con-
stant, swift stream of planned news and information that
somebody wants to get to the public requires two groups of
workers. First, writers, editors, and speakers, paid by the
media— newspapers, radio, etc. Second, publicity people,
paid by individuals or organizations with an ax to grind.
It can be a legitimate ax, and usually is. The help of pro-
fessional publicity people is recognized as essential by most
Publicity in Public Relations 3
important organizations that want public esteem. It is also
welcomed by editors in all fields, because it saves their staff
time and gives them access to vast pools of information they
could not otherwise tap.
Publicity is one practical means by which American busi-
ness puts its best foot forward. Management people as a
whole are more inclined to use publicity than some less
familiar tools of public relations. They understand it better,
are able to measure and appraise its tangible results, and
often can put a dollar-and-cents value on it.
PUBLICITY AND ADVERTISING
This is partly because publicity is akin to advertising,
which is readily assessed in terms of goods or services sold.
Management people have long used advertising techniques
and are familiar with costs and media. They have seen pur-
chase of space in newspapers and magazines, and of time
on radio and television programs, translated into sales and
profits. Thus there is no longer urgent need to "sell the idea"
of advertising to American industry. The role played by ad-
vertising in the unparalleled expansion of markets since 1900
is universally recognized.
Large-scale publicity for industry is newer, and though
it seldom accomplishes the immediate, direct sales stimulus
that comes from advertising, it penetrates more deeply and
often has more lasting effect. v
The ads sell the product, but publicity sells the reputation^
of the manufacturer. As markets grow more competitive and
products more standardized, the importance of company
reputation as a sales factor increases. Publicity complements
advertising and prepares the way for its acceptance. It also
4 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
accomplishes other important goals which advertising cannot
Skepticism as to the truth of advertising, born of the decep-
tive words of a few dishonest or overzealous advertising
mavericks, always has been a real threat to ethical business.
Abuse of publicity, stemming from the excesses of old-
fashioned press agents, has fed public suspicion of the
motives of business. But deceptive publicity dies an early
death, because it is so often detected by the editors through
whose hands it must pass before publication.
On every copy desk there is a copy reader one of whose
principal duties is to watch out for inaccuracy, exaggeration,
and distortion of facts. The impartial editor, whether in news-
paper, magazine, book, radio, or television work, is the
publics guardian against misstatement.
This very real protection of the public from false claims
made in publicity is a great advantage to the purveyor of
honest information about industrial companies. The char-
latans do exist, and do occasionally mislead for a short while.
But publicity, recognized as a respectable calling, has con-
sistently raised its standards, has attracted men and women
of character and technical ability, and has become widely
accepted as a function of the top management in industry.
PUBLICITY AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
The terms "publicity" and "public relations" are often used
as meaning the same thing. This is a confusion, but a natural
one, because public relations as practiced today grew out of
publicity, and contains publicity as its primary component.
A management must come in contact with many sections
of the public as well as with people generally. It has a com-
Publicity in Public Relations 5
plex of ideas and persuasions which it is necessary to transmit
to one or more of its publics. Among them are employees,
shareholders, customers, suppliers, government officials, edu-
cators, students, and voters. The opinions formed in the
minds of one or more of these publics may well be a deciding
factor in the success of the enterprise.
To influence some part of the public favorably toward the
management is the task of public relations. This is accom-
plished through the use of sight and sound. The pleasant
voice of a telephone operator, the phraseology used in a sales
letter, an appealing picture of an employee's child, a spon-
sored entertainment program— all have the same final objec-
tive, to make people like the company. Every contact of a
company representative therefore has some public relations
Advertising, employee communications, community wel-
fare projects, annual financial reports, speeches, displays and
exhibits, participation in philanthropies, establishment of
scholarships and research fellowships, invitations to groups
to visit the company's premises— all are public relations
Publicity is the principal and most widely employed
method of obtaining good relations with important sections
of the public. Some public relations activities are entirely
comprised of publicity, some only tangential to it.
Publicity often provides a widening out of the effects of
a public relations project. A new advertising appropriation,
for example, may be the subject of a publicity story for the
trade press and metropolitan newspapers. A safety campaign
in a plant may be made effective through use of publicity
outside as well as within the company. Local newspapers,
6 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
television, and radio cover the news of a community event.
Thousands who do not receive a copy of an annual report are
nevertheless acquainted with the kernel of its message
through publicity. The gist of an address given before a hun-
dred persons may reach a million by press and radio. Pictures
of a product demonstration in one city may be seen all
through the country in newspapers, magazines, television,
PUBLICITY AND INDUSTRY
The twin goals of an industrial company are profits and
prestige. If these were always of equal import, one perfectly
balancing off the other, the publicity man's work would be
simplified. But objectives shift and change; profit and pres-
tige come into momentary conflict. To decide where em-
phasis must fall requires the best judgment available to
management. The publicity man, whether or not concerned
with establishing basic policies, is expected to help imple-
ment them. He is the public's representative in manage-
A new improvement on a product, for example, might
render former models obsolete. How far shall the company
go, in unloading the old models at a good profit? When the
new one is introduced, should losses on dealers' old stocks
be absorbed? Should the public be encouraged to buy the old
or wait for the new? When is the proper timing for announce-
ment of the change— in the research stage, on completion of
a prototype, at the moment when sales plans have been per-
fected, or after new stocks are in dealers' hands?
Each decision involves a risk. The greatest risk of all is
that of acceptance by the public. By proper use of publicity,
Publicity in Public Relations 7
planned news, the chances of favorable reception are greatly
When companies serving New York State communities
with artificial gas decided to sell a mixture of natural and
artificial gas instead, two years were devoted to advance
preparation of the public to use the changed product. Experi-
ences in other states were studied, answers to probable ques-
tions prepared, and an elaborate publicity program, also
involving advertising, worked out in detail long before the
mixed gas was available.
An electrical-appliance manufacturer prepared to intro-
duce an automatic washing machine. Only top management
and a compact design and engineering team were aware of
the innovation. Such secrecy was observed that experimental
models were made in padlocked quarters.
Market analysis, production schedules, sales promotion had
to wait. But publicity, building the company's prestige and
good name with the housewives who would use the appliance
—that couldn't be accidental or incidental. It had to be pro-
grammed far in advance.
For this reason the publicity-department head was made
part of top management's planning board on the project from
the start. His advice was needed on the all-important matters
of timing, selection of a proper place and occasion for public
As the representative of the public in management, he was
expected to be sensitive to public moods and reactions. Also
he was considered best equipped to prevent premature leaks
of information. He was made part of top management not to
please him or recognize his merit, but because he had a basic
management function to perform.
8 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Some companies entrust basic management problems in-
volving the public to experienced outside public relations
counsel rather than staff members. This is a matter of choice.
The pros and cons are discussed in Chapters 19 and 20.
The readiness of management to use public relations and
publicity personnel in arriving at decisions is still far from
universal. The trend is growing, because managements which
have taken the step have found that it works well.
PUBLICITY AND THE PUBLIC
As a rule, the public does not know or care whether the
news and information it gets is accidental, incidental, or
planned, as long as it is interesting and true. Therefore the
publicity man should be given the utmost freedom in reach-
ing the public through all the channels by which it learns
what is going on in the world.
Publicity men and women contribute to encyclopedias,
dictionaries, proceedings of learned societies, reports of
official commissions, dispatches of diplomats, communiques
of military commanders, and utterances of statesmen and
religious leaders. So their work is not confined to the ephem-
eral news or feature article, though that is usually their
A publicity man who chooses to publicize himself is an
oddity. Most of them may not have a "passion for anonym-
ity," but they find it good business. They do not sit at the
speakers' table and do not pose for photographs with com-
pany executives; most of the material they write appears
under someone else's signature, or none at all.
A few public relations counseling organizations carry on
publicity activities for themselves, using the same medicine
Publicity in Public Relations 9
they prescribe for others. In such cases, the organization is
considered a "client," and a member of the firm is assigned
to the "account" just as if it were an outside concern.
It is always understood and taken for granted that a pub-
licity man is working for and is paid by a person or organiza-
tion, and that what he writes is in the interest of that person
or organization. He does not expect payment from his em-
ployer and then additional payment from a publication for
the same work. The key to his acceptance as a link in the
chain of communication is trust in his integrity. He is re-
quired to be what he represents himself to be, an advocate.
His integrity must go even further. Everything he writes
or says, or causes others to write or say in the interest of his
employer, should also be in the public interest.
This is an obligation imposed on few other hired men. An
attorney does his full duty in serving his client, though he
may not believe in his client's case. He engages in a debate,
and must do everything in his power to help his client win.
But the publicity man is in a different fix. If his employer
is engaged in indefensible practices affecting the public,
which he refuses to change, the publicity worker, weighing
his responsibilities to employer and to public, may have to
make a decision as to which he shall serve. He does not
have the protection of ancient custom as does the lawyer.
He is obliged to put the public interest first, even if that
means to sever his business connection.
If this seems to demand a harsh application of self-
discipline, the publicity worker should nevertheless be pre-
pared to make it. The occasions will be few in which such
a choice is forced upon him. But to make it is to guard his
future as a respected member of a profession.
chapter 2 How to Cultivate News Sources
Your success in publicity will be based on consistent ability
to do three things:
Find good stories to tell.
Tell them well.
Get them published to the right readers and listeners.
This deceptively simple formula will be our guide through
this book, and in this chapter we'll examine the first step,
how to find good stories to tell.
Let's suppose that you have been assigned to organize
the publicity for a manufacturing concern, that you have
the education and ability needed, that the work is new to
you, and that there is nobody much to lean on. You are on
your own, given the responsibility to establish procedures,
make decisions— and get good stories.
YOUR PUBLIC RELATIONS
Your immediate objective is to make yourself known in a
favorable way to those above or below you or at your side.
Act according to your own temperament. Some persons
could sit at the same desk every day for a month and
scarcely be observed; others become acquainted all over
the place in a day or so. The best way to gain notice is not
How to Cultivate News Sources 11
to seek direct attention, but to get work done that compels
it. To illustrate:
A publicity man obtained a chart of the management per-
sonnel, the top executives. He pasted it on a sheet of card-
board and kept it in the middle drawer of his desk. He
familiarized himself with names and titles, and studied
photographs of executives in the publicity files, so that he
would recognize them when he saw them. Those who had
not recently had photographs taken were asked to do so,
through the publicity office. By the time proofs were sub-
mitted, choice of the best pose made, and three glossy prints
of the final photograph handed to each subject, the pub-
licity man had begun a series of acquaintanceships that
served to identify him in the minds of the executives, in
connection with his work.
Establishing working arrangements in secondary echelons
of management often requires even more attention than with
those near the top. One may encounter indifference, or even
skepticism or hostility, when the public relations function
is not familiar or not understood. On the other hand, many
minor executives are eager for recognition and will give co-
operation. Whatever the attitude, it is wise to start early to
set up relationships on a going basis, and equally important
to continue this work. Nothing is more difficult to overcome
than a feeling of neglect.
An Integrated Policy
An integrated publicity policy means that news from all
parts of the organization flows to the publicity office, and
also that news is given out only with its knowledge and
sanction. Such a policy has these obvious advantages:
12 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
1. One source in the company to which editors and writers
come for information, thus saving their time and that of
2. Coordination of publicity, so that half a dozen stories
do not go out one day, and none at all the next.
3. Prevention of harmful rivalry, and jockeying for pub-
licity attention, among company department heads.
This does not mean that nobody but the publicity man
talks to editors and writers. The contrary is true. He spends
a great deal of time setting up meetings of the press ( daily,
business, etc. ) with key men in the company. The net result
is fair and beneficial, and the company gains a reputation
with the press for being easily accessible.
A fourth advantage, which should be clearly pointed out
to management, is that an integrated publicity policy saves
many executive man-hours, hence many dollars, in the course
of a year's operation.
CONDUCTING AN INTERVIEW
Most of the material which will result in publicity for the
company is gathered by the publicity staff who cover the
plant or the various divisions and departments just as dili-
gently as an outside newspaper reporter covers the beat
assigned to him. To report industrial news effectively and
accurately demands the use of a notebook. Most of the in-
formation is to be gathered in personal interviews, supple-
mented, of course, by records and printed or written material
supplied by various other employees.
In reporting some types of news, newspaper reporters do
not take any notes at all. The sight of a notebook is quite
likely to make the man or woman who is the source of news
How to Cultivate News Sources 13
self-conscious, and therefore good reporters have to train
themselves to remember accurately without taking notes
until the interview is over.
This does not apply, however, to the publicity man dealing
with company news sources. Instead of the source's being
scared off by the sight of a notebook, he is quite likely to
be reassured. The company man or woman who is inter-
viewed feels some sense of security because the interviewer
is part of the organization and quite obviously is not out to
publish anything damaging. The sight of the notebook is
evidence that the publicity man intends to get his facts
straight. This impression will be measurably strengthened
by telling the person interviewed that nothing will be re-
leased without proper clearances.
It is important for the publicity worker to be meticulous
in his preparation for the interview. The following ten sug-
gestions for conducting successful interviews are not in-
tended to be followed rigidly but to be adapted to the
1. Do not be casual in your approach. Neatness of physical
appearance is important. Small details make an impression,
sometimes unconscious, which may have an influence on
the responsiveness of the person to be interviewed. Be sure
that you have a pen or pencil in working order and some
paper or a notebook. The back of an old envelope just won't
do for this purpose. A quick glance in the mirror before you
approach the interview will enable you to make sure that
everything about your appearance is in order. Remember
that when you are writing notes, your hands are conspicuous
and therefore special attention should be paid to the nails.
Many good interviewers are slightly nervous at the start. A
14 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
good way to mitigate this nervousness is to take one or two
deep breaths before opening the door for the interview.
This has a physiological as well as psychological effect and
contributes to poise and self-assurance.
2. If the interview is to take place in the building where
you are employed, hat and coat may be left in your own
office. If it is in a plant or office to which you would cus-
tomarily wear a hat, keep your hat with you: do not leave
it in an outside office. If you are a man, carry the hat in
your left hand. If you are a woman, continue to wear your
hat through the interview. If you walk in without a hat,
you may be giving the impression that you have come for a
long visit; and this may set up some of the unconscious re-
sistance which you should make every effort to avoid.
3. Leave extraneous materials behind. This applies to the
daily newspaper, the casual magazine or book, or the odd
parcel. It is quite acceptable to carry in with you a brief
case containing papers which are to be used in the inter-
view. The point here is not to have anything with you which
is going to distract attention from the interview.
4. It is difficult for some people to cross an office from the
door to the desk of the man who occupies the office. Walk
in a straight line; don't start in one direction, then change.
Don't slouch and don't hurry. Never walk about the room
admiring the pictures or gadgets on the wall, at least until
the interview is well under way. Such movement distracts
attention from the work at hand. Exhibit your own com-
posure by keeping hands and feet still except when in useful
5. Look directly at the person you are to interview when
you shake hands. This moment of sizing each other up is
How to Cultivate News Sources 15
all-important. If you are invited to sit down, do so at once
and do not sit on the edge of your chair or slump down in it.
6. Be careful to talk rather slowly. During the first few
minutes of your conversation the person being interviewed
is getting acquainted with you and your manner. The words
you say do not make much impact. Therefore do not lead
off by asking an important question. This does not mean
that you should try to exhaust the topic of the weather or
any other extraneous subject. Two or three minutes is long
enough to devote to getting settled down into the interview
and to begin asking questions that count.
7. No matter what the attitude or manner of the person
you are interviewing, do not be curt or brisk in your ques-
tions. Express as few opinions of your own as you can. After
all, it is the interviewee's ideas, not yours, that you are after.
When you have asked a question, pause and give the other
man a chance to think before he answers. Moments of silence
in an interview are often fruitful. Rushing an interview is a
sure way to get only superficial and not thoughtful answers.
8. After you have gathered the information you need,
make it clear that there will be future steps: interviews with
others; pictures, reports, or data to be sent to you; a tele-
phone call from you, to check your facts; submission of the
write-up for approval. Whatever it is, the idea should be
firmly implanted that though the interview has been con-
cluded, the project has not, and further contact will be made.
You have aroused curiosity by your call; give some indica-
tion that it will be satisfied. Some practiced interviewers
make a point of always asking for something at the end of
the session, to emphasize the importance of future steps.
Others follow up with a brief note, as a reminder of their
16 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
identity. Even more important than the information gathered
in a first interview is the impression one leaves. This impres-
sion is more likely to be good if the person interviewed
looks with expectation for future results.
9. At the first possible moment, after you have left the
immediate place of the interview, read your notes thoroughly
and then write them up. The notes should be expanded while
the recollection of the words still is fresh in your mind. If
you put off doing this until the next day, or the next week,
half the flavor of the interview will be gone, and you will
find that you have only a hazy recollection of the facts you
noted down. If a point is not clear, go back or phone back
to clarify it. Most men will welcome this evidence of sin-
cerity. Don't be afraid to admit you didn't understand.
10. As an alternative to the person-to-person interview
the questionnaire method is sometimes used to gather in-
formation. This is done by writing out questions and sending
them to the appropriate person and asking him to write out
the answers. Written questions and answers have the advan-
tage of clear-cut statements. They are most useful as a sup-
plement to the face-to-face interview, not as a substitute.
After contacts have been established through the organ-
ization, considerable information will naturally be gathered
by telephone. It is just as important to have pencil and
paper at hand during this kind of information gathering as it
is in a personal interview.
With busy men time and distance may prevent a personal
visit for a while, but it is good practice to make at least one
personal call on every individual who is likely to be a con-
tinuing source of news, in order to establish a personal
How to Cultivate News Sources 17
The chief executive officer of a company is its principal
spokesman for all public utterances. Usually he is the chair-
man or the president of the company. Again and again at-
tempts are made by companies, large and small, to have two
spokesmen and sometimes even three on policy matters
affecting all company affairs, but this practice is seldom suc-
cessful. Both editors and readers like to identify a company
with a personality, and it is confusing when too many per-
sonalities are involved.
The president should be one of the best of the publicity
man's news sources; yet too often he is really neglected—
that is, his name is used only in connection with the annual
report or other financial news about the company. Among
occasions when he may properly make the announcement
are promotions and appointments of executives, new plant
installations and expansions, support of philanthropies and
other public-spirited activities, and unveiling of new prod-
How far down the news line should the president go as
spokesman? This is a question never completely solved, and
differing widely according to the size of the company, the
number and location of plants, and, to be realistic, the per-
sonalities concerned. The president of a company which had
decided to move its executive offices to another city made
the announcement himself. The president of another com-
pany had authorized purchase of additional acreage in a
Western state which he had never even visited. He saw the
wisdom of having the announcement come from the divi-
sional manager in that locality.
18 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
One company has a rule that matters of sufficient impor-
tance to be passed on by the board of directors are an-
nounced by the president, while other news emanates from
whatever executive is in charge of a project. Another once
set up a rigid regulation that only the president could speak
for the company. This led to the absurdity of quoting the
president of this large company on the purchase of new
uniforms for a plant sof tball team in a distant city. In theory
that could have been defended, but actually it caused re-
sentment, not on the part of the local manager, but of the
local editors in the plant city. It bolstered the claim that this
was a big "foreign" company, which ruled every move of
the local plant from "Wall Street."
Most widespread companies are so fearful of local hostility
of this nature that they go to some lengths to emphasize
the degree of local autonomy the plant managers enjoy.
Here again discretion is needed. The local plant city should
appreciate the local character of company management. But
if this goes too far, then the headquarters of the company
dwindles in importance to the community. And there may
be occasions when the headquarters needs a bond of fa-
miliarity with local community leaders.
A division of a company of national scope had so empha-
sized that the local manager ran the local outfit, that when
the time came for him to be advanced and moved to head-
quarters, the top-management group that visited the plant
to take over were treated like strangers and interlopers.
Slavishly following a good rule resulted in bad public re-
A device used by some ingenious publicity departments
is to quote from a division head his report made to the presi-
How to Cultivate News Sources 19
dent. Thus in one company a new research development was
the subject of an executive conference to which the press was
invited. The president introduced the head of the research
division, commented on the division's work, and described
how it fitted into the other company operations. Then the
research head, reporting to the president, told him— as other
executives and newsmen listened— not only the research
news, but how the president had backed up and insisted on
company support of a project that had involved a consider-
able financial gamble.
In this way the publicity was not limited to the science
columns. The significance of the company's economic partici-
pation was underlined. The president retained his role as
principal company spokesman, without detracting from the
credit due the research staff. By linking up research and
economics, the publicity man who had arranged the execu-
tive conference built up a story that appealed to many edi-
torial writers. He did not neglect to cover them, as well as
news desks, with copies of the news release.
DIVISION AND DEPARTMENT HEADS
To organize news sources within a division or department,
start with the top man, but do not stop there. He is the man
under whose authority you must work. His ideas on the kind
of publicity most useful to his department interests are of
value. Do not overlook them in developing your own. Do
not be hasty in "selling" him a departmental publicity pro-
gram. Ride along at his speed, at least until you have a good
grounding on the possibilities. He will understand your need
for a few weeks of exploratory work, but if you rush to re-
lease the first good story you turn up, your stability may be
20 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
questioned in his mind. The more responsible your approach,
the better he will be reassured. Remember that publicity
may be an unfamiliar realm. Instead of telling him at once
all about publicity possibilities, lend an ear. Observe the
restrictions he imposes, even if they seem overcautious. The
time to remove them comes later; yield at first, rather than
make an impression as an arguer. All in good time, he will
listen to reason if from the start you have been reasonable.
The preferable arrangement is to establish the department
head as your main point of contact. If he is not readily avail-
able, ask him to delegate a senior executive in his department
to work with you. This man will help you make a publicity
audit or survey by one or more trips through the department,
during which you meet supervisors and other key people,
and will provide continuous access to news of the depart-
The kind of news and feature material you collect will
vary among departments according to the characteristics
of their work and those of their managerial personnel. You
will be required to maintain a balance and a perspective,
not always an easy task, because some departments are
richer sources than others and your own interests will cause
you to favor some over others. Nobody expects a mechanical
evenness of coverage, but learn not to stay away from de-
partments less cordial than others, and not to be over-
whelmed by department heads who seek more than their
The research department has secrets. They may be mili-
tary, in which case you will sometimes be supplied with de-
tails in confidence, but more often be stopped at locked
How to Cultivate News Sources 21
doors. Loss of a photograph that was entrusted to a publicity
man for reference, and not for release, almost landed him in
Leavenworth during World War II. Make it a rule not to take
the responsibility of keeping classified material in publicity
If the secret is merely a professional one, be vigilant to
guard the company's interest. Do not discuss it outside the
research department, for that would surely build you a bad
reputation with those who trusted you. There is a tempta-
tion at times to indicate that one is on the "inside," but it is
wiser to appear ignorant than garrulous.
Many research men do not recognize the legitimate pub-
licity values in their work. Caution is needed at first in even
suggesting possibilities. Once confidence is established, how-
ever, and a few stories are produced accurately, you will
find the scientists eager to tell of the wonderland they are
exploring. Science-news reporting has improved markedly
in the past decade. One result has been the adoption of a
more favorable attitude by scientists toward releasing news
to the general public.
It still may be necessary for the first announcement to
come through a paper presented before a technical society
or published in a scientific journal.
A general publicity release may be timed to coincide with
the appearance of the journal. You can be of assistance here,
to the degree that you understand the special language of the
particular branch of research concerned. Your help might be
to find simpler ways of expression. The long, involved sen-
tence is no clearer to the scientific reader than to another,
and dull writing, once taken as an evidence of erudition,
now is recognized as a stumbling block.
Retaining respect for the research man's professional in-
22 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
hibitions should not lead you to acquire a negative attitude
yourself. Amazing stories can come out of research inter-
views. An explanation by one serious scientist that resonance
properly produced could result in the fall of the walls of
Jericho, and of another that man's future food supply may
come from the plankton in the oceans, needed the touch of
the publicity man to bring them to general attention. So do
not hesitate to ask, when there is a question in your mind.
The answer might be yes, and if the scientist has reason to
trust your judgment, he will frequently let you know it.
The publicity problem with the engineer resembles that
with the research scientist— and so does the opportunity.
The engineer is liable to think the interviewer knows more
about a subject than is the case, and may object to making
statements that appear A B C to him, but are needed to
clarify the main facts. A careful but not flippant explanation
that many who will read the publicity story are unschooled
and that therefore the simplest terms are needed will do won-
ders in getting away from the professional nomenclature.
This, however, should not invite inaccuracy. To the struc-
tural engineer there is a difference between a beam and a
column, a girder and a joist. At the risk of giving the engineer
a low opinion of his intelligence, the interviewer should get
such distinctions clear in his mind before he starts to write.
Ask and ask again if need be. A simple handbook on the
engineering subject under discussion, or even an ordinary
large dictionary, will help supplement what one learns in
person from the engineers.
The engineer is a good source for obtaining striking com-
How to Cultivate News Sources 23
parisons. He will figure out for you how many times the
annual production of cable would go around the earth;
whether a beam of light, given a clear night and a proper
parabolic reflector, could reach the moon; how many man-
hours of labor are saved by his new device; how long the
Empire State Building will remain standing; how many ele-
phants could be suspended from a structural steel member
without breaking it.
This is a realm in which he delights; but proceed slowly
and not at your own risk. Such comparisons should always be
rational and germane. They should not be used merely to
provide good copy; they should clarify a concept. Never, if
there is an engineer within a thousand miles, do your own
calculating for these bright comparisons which do so much
to enliven popular journalism. For you will be tempted to
leave out the qualifications the engineer insists on, and one
misstep in this direction is probably all you will be per-
mitted to make. A little learning, in engineering as in other
subjects, is a dangerous thing.
Research men and engineers need patient explanation of
publicity methods and objectives. They are in general a
bright lot, but they are naive about reporting and publicity.
Some of them think that if they tell a publicity man about
their projects, a distorted interpretation will appear in news-
The publicity man must prove by performance that he
respects the confidence and dignity of the research man or
engineer; but he need not always agree to a cautious, unro-
mantic treatment of an interesting story.
Sometimes there are legal reasons for giving priority to
publication of a story in a technical journal, but usually the
24 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
research man just prefers to do it that way. His primary
interest is in informing and impressing his professional coun-
terparts in other companies, and he wants to tell them first in
his own way. This may lose control of the story, and the pub-
licity man should attempt to persuade the research man to
consider which method of breaking a given story will be
most beneficial to the company.
A good statistician is a historian and a prophet. The statis-
tician, who may be the controller or one of his assistants,
has at his finger tips knowledge of the company and of the
industry which seldom comes to light but would make excel-
lent copy. Reflecting the public's constant interest in the fu-
ture, all editors are alert to predictions. What is the trend?
What new influences are developing, likely to change things
as they are, make them better or worse? Has the
building boom passed its peak? Has the automobile market
become saturated? Will the new, versatile types of sewing
machine affect the ready-to-wear dress market? To what
extent will synthetic fibers affect cotton and wool markets in
the next year? Will the paper-backed book help or hinder
sales of cloth-bound books?
Answers to questions such as these affect jobs, pocket-
books, investments, personal and commercial plans of mil-
lions. The trend in buying habits, never quite stable, never
entirely predictable, still can be forecast, within limits, by
those who make a continuous market study. Most companies
consider such statistical studies essential. Sagacious com-
panies often publicize the beginnings of a trend in the hope
of strengthening it.
In the history and growth of the company, the record of
How to Cultivate News Sources 25
employment and payrolls, of purchases, taxes, development
of product lines, and expansion of markets, the controller,
treasurer, or statistician can open the door to a rich mine of
information. The publicity man can collect this type of
material, write up the facts, organize files of old and historic
pictures, sketches, catalogues, and sales literature. Thus the
publicity department enriches its news and feature output,
not only by individual stories based on the past, or by a com-
pany history, invaluable though these are.
A paragraph, a reference, a comparison to some phase of
the company a quarter or half century ago can bring home
to the reader an impression that this is a stable, thoroughly
rooted enterprise. Recognition of dependability and good
repute are not to be built up overnight, or in bald state-
ments or boasting. By weaving into the entire publicity out-
put, over a year, occasional references to the company's past,
a favorable light is shed without forcing it on the public.
In the rush of getting todays work done, publicity people
may seldom pause and survey their work and that of the
company in the light of the past. By this omission they fail
to give depth and power to much of their output. The present
obviously is the main theme, but the past and future, the
realms of the statistician, should be called on for their con-
As the mainstream of factory life, the production or manu-
facturing department provides material for publicity in great
volume, unspectacular as a rule, but capable of clinching" two
major impressions that management wants to make:
1. This company makes good goods.
2. This company is a good place to work.
26 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Publicity on Processes
The argument that the company makes good products is
fortified by publicizing quality-control techniques, effi-
ciency, cost saving, simplification and speed, and processes
and methods which involve out-of-the-ordinary machinery
and equipment. It is implied that a company alert and intelli-
gent enough to develop and adapt improved and modern
manufacturing methods passes the benefits along to the pur-
chaser. He is influenced by this type of publicity to believe
he is dealing with an up-to-date, imaginative, and progressive
Much publicity concerned with manufacturing processes
and methods is published in trade and business magazines.
By a curious paradox, the best way yet found for a manu-
facturer to convince his customers of his advanced produc-
tion skills is to tell "how to do it," thus exposing what might
have been closely guarded secrets to all who are interested-
including his competitors.
Any loss caused by lifting the veil from the modern Ameri-
can factory and revealing details of the art has been shown
to be minimal, in view of the public relations gains that come
with a reputation for being smart. The interchange of ideas
through technical and trade magazines is an outstanding
characteristic of our present-day production system. Its
effect in multiplying production is no longer debatable. The
contribution of the publicity man, a valued ally of the indus-
trial editor, in inducing management to let production meth-
ods be disclosed, is substantial.
Because the publicizing of manufacturing processes has
become so generally accepted, the publicity man finds his
How to Cultivate News Sources 27
way a little easier here than with research men and engineers.
But he cannot expect factory men to do his thinking for him,
to recognize publicity possibilities in what seem to them
merely logical ways of doing things. It is the publicity man
who must see the story in a plant layout, in the examination
of red-hot turbine blades by a camera, in the magic of a
machine that "thinks" more quickly and accurately than a
human brain. He is paid for this recognition, this application
of imagination to mechanical equipment and processes. It
is his ability to see a story in the manufacturing aisle where
a thousand others take the wonders of production for granted
that makes him worth his salt.
Publicity on People
The people in a factory are always more interesting than
the machines. It is they who provide the publicity man with
ammunition for convincing the public that his company is
a good place to work. This impression, so valuable to man-
agement, has two purposes:
1. To prevent labor turnover and attract new first-rate
2. To induce the customer to like the product because he
likes the management.
Take the company safety program as an illustration:
A worker prefers surroundings where he is relatively safe
to those where no protection is afforded.
A normal customer would rather buy shoes or any other
article made by a company that is proud of its safety record
than by one that doesn't care.
While the fact that safety measures pay for themselves
many times in hard dollars may theoretically provide the
28 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
primary appeal to management, from the publicity point
of view it is the emotional values that are most convincing.
A completely automatic factory would be a poor publicity
source after the first announcement. Since, therefore, it is
the people who make up the publicity wellspring, the pub-
licity man should work through the personnel department
in the factory, to discover hidden treasures among men and
women on the payroll.
Three generations work in same department
Pink lights increase girl operators' production
$1,500 in prizes for suggestions
Shop steward's son wins company scholarship
Ericsson's descendant helps design Navy ship
These are not world-beating stories, but they are human,
and that is the test. Whenever a worker is made to seem
successful, distinguished, clever, or even beautiful, the reader
unconsciously deepens his impression that this factory is a
good place to work. If it were not, would likable folks of
this sort work there? That is the implication of all personnel
publicity. It is not starkly stated, of course, but the same
purpose underlies it all. The personnel department, which
has the facilities for digging out the human interest in the
manufacturing plant, is a valuable publicity ally. But again,
even the personnel man should not be called on to do the
publicity job. He can help locate the quarry, but the public-
ity man must bring it down.
The sales department is the main source of publicity about
the company's products. Top-management, research, engi-
How to Cultivate News Sources 29
neering, statistical, and production material form a useful
publicity background, but it is sales that determine what
new products go into the line, how they shall be priced,
where marketed, and when exposed to public view. For con-
venience publicity is usually spoken of as either institutional
or product publicity. All departments and divisions we have
considered so far in this chapter contribute directly to in-
stitutional publicity. Indirectly, of course, all of them also
relate to sales, which is the hub of the wheel and is con-
cerned with products and thus with product publicity.
Advertising and sales promotion are part of the sales de-
partment. The publicity department works very closely with
them, exchanging ideas and information, but guarding
against losing its identity in them.
Typically, the basic idea for a new product springs from
the results of scientific research. It is put on a practical and
workable basis by engineering. It is produced in the factory.
The market is developed and held by advertising and sales
promotion, and the actual selling transaction, through
distributor, wholesaler, and retailer, is carried out by
When it is agreed that a new product is ready, the prac-
tice is to stage an exhibit, to which potential customers are
invited. This usually is preceded by one day by a press show-
ing, handled by the publicity department (see Chapter 14).
Photographs and publicity material, prepared in advance,
are released for publication at this time.
In most cases, the publicity department has already given
out some information. When the basic idea was matured in
the research laboratory, that was occasion for a science storv.
Thereafter it is likely that little was said until the product
30 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
was made ready for market. The period in between may
have been months or even years.
Product publicity does not necessarily cease when a new
item has been marketed. New uses and applications, spec-
tacular installations, and the like can keep the news and
feature stories going. The bulk of product publicity, however,
comes along simultaneously with introduction of the product.
The publicity man receives the information available, pre-
pares releases and photographs, coordinates his timing with
sales and advertising, plans special events, and looks to dis-
tribution of the publicity to every appropriate outlet.
The difficulties he went through in collecting institutional
publicity material are absent; the sales department is eager
to supply everything needed for publicity. The publicity
mans chief concern is timing; and this is no minor problem,
for he may have to maintain his right to release publicity
first, before advertising is published, against the eager sales
department which sometimes would prefer that the adver-
tising come first. The inexperienced publicity man who con-
sents to try to get his material published in the wake of an
advertising campaign will have a hard lesson to learn in
editors' offices. Large companies no longer attempt it, and
the present trend is all on the side of publicity first, then
From branch plants, located in cities away from head-
quarters, the publicity department can draw in a limited
amount of publicity. These also make good distribution
points for general company publicity in their own communi-
ties and regions.
How to Cultivate News Sources 31
The Minor Unit
A manufacturing unit that turns out machine parts, a
bottling or other packaging plant, or even a warehouse with
repair and maintenance facilities may seem uninspiring,
until we recall that most publicity is based on people. An
occasional trip to the most obscure company plant will yield
something. It will contribute, if nothing else, to the extremely
valuable identification of the company with the local com-
munity. A good reporter's eye is bound to discover some
interesting personality, a record of achievement of which
local management has cause to be proud, or an outstanding
contribution to the community.
One company obtained national publicity by reporting
that five mayors, fourteen city councilmen, two state legis-
lators, and twenty-three other public officials made their
livings as company employees in various plants. Their jobs
ranged from machinist to works manager. This story had a
point beyond its novelty interest. It indicated that in the
ranks and management of the company civic responsibility,
public service, social obligation were taken seriously.
It is this type of publicity, often based on the humblest
sources, that builds a company reputation. In its own way
it is just as valuable as the spectacular story of monster pro-
duction or enormous payrolls. When a company becomes
large enough to operate branches scattered widely over the
map, it is in danger of being singled out because of its bigness
and, just because it is Big Business, subjected to hostility
it may not deserve. In the branch plant located in a small
community, the far-reaching enterprise has its opportunitv
to build a local reputation that offsets such criticism. The
32 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
publicity department, therefore, that takes the trouble to
cultivate its sources in the small branch plant demonstrates
that it not only recognizes major company public relations
problems, but takes helpful action on them.
The Major Branch
In size and importance branch plants range all the way
from the tiny local unit to the self-contained factory that
occupies many acres and is the principal industry of its own
community. A large branch establishment has its own iden-
tity, its own set of local community problems, and possibly
its own publicity staff, dealing with media somewhat as if it
were an independent company.
But it is not an independent company. Therefore the pub-
licity staff at headquarters should specifically define where
local plant responsibility begins and ends. Communication
between branch and home office should be continuous, by
exchange of personal visits by staff members, periodic con-
ferences, and daily use of telephone, telegraph, or mail. The
headquarters publicity staff should see to it that when the
president or other top-management executive pays a visit
to the branch-plant city, he is made acquainted with news-
paper publishers, radio-station owners, and leading citizens.
Occasions should be arranged for company heads to speak
before local business organizations and service clubs. The
local works manager or division head also participates in
these events, introducing the headquarters officials.
By these means local businessmen are given respect for the
prestige and standing of the local plant head within his own
company. They also are made to feel that their city ^ and
themselves are regarded as important. Any idea that a "for-
How to Cultivate News Sources 33
eign" group has set up a plant here to exploit the local com-
munity and take its money away is dissipated when friendly
community relations are established.
When a well-defined intracompany relationship brings
company heads and branch-plant city leaders together from
time to time, the publicity man's efforts have paid off.
Throughout the company, in day-to-day work, the digger
for good publicity stories will meet many people casually—
receptionists, secretaries, clerks, draftsmen, foremen, per-
sonnel assistants, messengers, chauffeurs, cafeteria attend-
ants, guards, and guides, to mention a few. Among these
people, so often ignored and taken for granted, he can find
the clues to many excellent stories, not by probing, but by
If the publicity man maintains the dignity of his position,
limits his communication to a stiff "good morning," and on
the whole acts like a stranger, he can go on being a stranger
to these people for years. If he swoops down, however, with
a falsely hearty greeting followed by questions about mat-
ters that are none of his business, he will meet frozen faces
and be followed by suspicion. The one character more de-
spised by minor employees than a stuffed shirt is a company
spy. With the best intentions, a publicity man is in danger,
especially in unfamiliar places, of being put into one of
those categories, simply because he represents top manage-
ment. But by acting naturally, showing a genuine and not a
fake interest in his fellow employees in all ranks, the publicitv
man is in a superior position to learn the legitimate news
of what's going on.
34 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Loyal employees are proud of seeing their company and
especially their plant given public recognition, and they
know it is the publicity man who obtained it. All he has to
do is be friendly, honest, trustworthy— and soon the word will
travel over the grapevine that he truly "belongs." To reach
this point is a worth-while achievement for any publicity
man or woman.
But why go to this bother, when regular avenues are open
to more official sources of information? The reason is that
most executives do not have the capacity for recognizing
publicity material, except the most obvious, while the "little
people," the humble employees, spend more of their leisure
time looking at newspapers, magazines, and television and
listening to radio. They are representative of the public
toward which publicity is directed, and the things that
interest them about the company will interest thousands of
people like them.
Information gathered from down-the-line sources obvi-
ously must be considered as tips and clues and should always
be received in detail from authoritative sources. In going
to the official in charge, who can provide authentic facts
in line with company policy, a good publicity man follows
the cardinal rule of the good reporter: he protects the iden-
tity of the source of the original tip. And it is a good precau-
tion to establish with the management officials concerned
the certainty that the publicity man will not act as a company
spy, will not retail gossip, and will limit his friendly conver-
sations to innocuous and uncontroversial subjects.
LET COMPANY PEOPLE SEE THE RESULTS
From a dozen or a hundred sources within the company,
the publicity staff gathers each month a wide variety of
How to Cultivate News Sources 35
material which is processed, sent out, and published or broad-
cast. This does not complete the publicity job. The results
normally are recorded, kept on file, and shown to the man-
agement official directly concerned. By a little extra effort
the publicity staff's own public relations within the company
can be nourished.
The publicity clipping sent in to the president should be
photostatted, and copies sent to divisions and departments.
See to it that second-echelon executives receive copies of the
monthly report of publicity obtained, not only their own,
but that of the entire company. This extra attention serves
two purposes. It keeps departments informed as to what
proportion of company publicity they are receiving; and it
lets the entire company know what the publicity staff has
Only a publicity staff that is on its toes, alert to its oppor-
tunities, and diligent in cultivating every possible source
within the company is really in a position to expose this
monthly record to all eyes. It is the quickest and most effec-
tive method of straightening out kinks in coverage, evening
up the amount of attention devoted to various departments,
and stimulating a productive rivalry among departments for
chapter 3 Reaching the Public: the Press
The word, printed or spoken, and supplemented by the
picture, is the publicity man's basic all-purpose tool. Indeed
it is man's primary vehicle for communicating and receiving
ideas. Our wonderfully complex fabric of communications
consists of the extension of mechanical means of reaching
the eye and the ear. The principal organized vehicles of
communication are called media (the plural of medium),
and in modern American life they include letters, telephone
conversations, telegrams, tape recordings, phonograph rec-
ords, daily and weekly newspapers, newsletters, magazines
of many sorts, books, pamphlets, television, radio, motion
pictures, filmstrips, visual displays, conferences, and group
In this chapter we can give only a bow to the letter and
the telephone conversation, those extremely important pub-
licity vehicles, and shall leave out all but the above mention
of several minor media.
The letter, whether addressed to one or a thousand per-
sons, is the oldest kind of written communication and still
the most widely used. Good publicity workers take care that
the letters they write reflect truly the good will and intentions
of their company or client. It is folly to slave for hours in
preparation of a news release or an article and then hastily
Reaching the Public: the Press 37
dictate an accompanying letter that may confuse or mislead.
In the attempt to be brief do not be cryptic. "When in doubt,
spell it out" is a good old-fashioned motto, though its twin,
"when in doubt, leave it out," is more in vogue.
Special mention of the telephone conversation is war-
ranted by the fact that unless backed up by careful note
taking it is the most unreliable medium of communication,
though one of the most useful. This is not the fault of the
telephone, but of poor enunciation at one end of the line or
dullness of attention at the other. Many words sound alike;
many small but vital ones can fade away if not clearly pro-
nounced. It is difficult to be sure whether someone has said
"we would" or "we wouldn't," over the phone. Do not hesi-
tate to ask that names and unfamiliar words be spelled out.
To overcome the possibility of misunderstanding, therefore,
it is often wise to write up the notes from a publicity tele-
phone conversation immediately and when feasible send a
copy to the other party. Speedy work does often prevent this;
but, except when one is handling split-second news, it is an
excellent guard against inaccuracy. For ordinary conversa-
tions, no; for vital occasions when accurate reporting is
DAILY NEWSPAPERS, BY DEPARTMENTS
The 1,800 daily newspapers published in the United
States include some that are highly specialized, such as legal,
labor, and commodities. Others, printed in foreign languages,
reach selected groups, to be sure, but responsive ones, whose
interest is much the same as readers who get their informa-
tion and entertainment in English. Too often the foreign-
language press is ignored as a publicity outlet.
38 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
This tabulation shows at a glance the principal daily news-
paper targets for publicity:
Circulation under 10,000 l.°°0
Circulation 10,000 to 100,000 500
Circulation more than 100,000 120
Foreign language *)
Total dailies in United States 1.800
The bulk of publicity is not sent directly to papers under
10 000 circulation, but reaches them through the wire serv-
ices to one or more of which all dailies subscribe. These
services include Associated Press, United Press, International
News Service, and Dow-Jones. The feature and photographic
agencies supplement this coverage.
The in-between group, 10,000 to 100,000 circulation, re-
ceives occasional direct publicity service, but concentration
is put on the 120 papers that top the 100,000 mark and are
located in fewer than 60 cities.
Obviously the local newspapers in the city where the
company is located, or in which it has branch plants, are
given special, personal attention, no matter what their size.
The same observation applies to weeklies and all other
A typical American newspaper has the following points
of contact for the industrial publicity man:
Citti Editor: Local news, in a radius of 50 miles.
State Editor: Covering the state or states within the circulation
Reaching the Public: the Press 39
News or Telegraph Editor: Ordinarily covered through wire
Managing Editor: Significant material not of strictly local or
Financial-Business Editor: Corporate news, such as quarterly and
annual reports, major product developments, forecasts, top-
management appointments, mergers, new plants, acquisitions.
Feature Editor: Mailed material, including photographs, in ad-
vance of release date.
Photo Editor: On large metropolitan papers, photos of immediate
interest; feature and other departmental photos go to de-
Sunday Editor: Picture stories of local or regional interest, gen-
eral features on an industry which has local units (shipbuild-
ing, lumber, steel, crops, etc.), national trade associations (to
home-town papers of the officers), and civic, social, or re-
ligious features capable of being slanted locally or regionally
Aviation, Auto, Farm, Hobby, Realty, Science, Sports, Travel
and other Departmental Editors:
According to their special interests.
Woman's Page, Fashion, Food, Household, Child-care Editors:
Product publicity stories, personality features about women,
and other items of feminine interest.
Society Editor: News of births, weddings, etc., in families of top
executives, with photos when appropriate.
Columnists: Personality, entertainment, military, political, or other
news and tips, according to their interest.
Washington Correspondents: News with a Washington or national
implication, affecting the communities served by the corre-
State-capital Correspondents: News concerning state government
and legislation, affecting the correspondent's home city
Editorial Writer: Copies of news releases and feature articles
sent to other departments, and suitable for editorial comment-
letters to the editor.
Publisher-Business Manager: These men handle the business end
40 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
of the newspaper primarily, and the occasions are rare in-
deed when news or feature material should be channeled
through them. The publisher may be invited to discuss high
policy with the head of the industrial company when war-
ranted; the business manager has been known to send news
releases to editors with the notation "B.O.," by which he
means Business Office; but editors have another connotation
for those initials on copy intended for the news columns.
When they use it under pressure, they hold their noses, and
then lie in wait for the next release from the same company.
GETTING ALONG WITH EDITORS
Here are three simple rules for maintaining good relations
with the press:
1. Make your approach through the editorial department,
not the business office; do not bring pressure from above to
get something in the paper.
2. Show your face occasionally in the newspaper offices
of headquarters and branch-plant cities, and get to know
individuals on the staffs. You will find them friendly and
3. When you make a personal approach, take along a good,
usable story. Do not try to get a dud printed on the strength
Like chain stores, newspapers under a single ownership
are sometimes operated in various cities. Scripps-Howard,
the oldest, publishes in eighteen cities; Hearst, in a dozen.
Other chains include Booth, in Michigan; Perry, in the
Southeast; Gannett, in the Atlantic states; etc.
Some news and features are exchanged within a chain,
Reaching the Public: the Press 41
but the publicity man deals with an individual paper as a
rule. Exception: policy, political, and editorial (i.e., opinion)
matters of more than local interest.
The Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance, for example,
is headquartered in Washington. Editorials, features, and
Washington correspondence are wired daily to chain mem-
bers, supplemented by cartoons, columns, etc., sent by mail.
Science, aviation, and other specialized columns are written
by outstanding authorities on the Scripps-Howard staff.
These men, in constant touch with leaders in their fields,
are important to publicity men who have information that
will interest them.
Both Scripps-Howard and Hearst enterprises also extend
to news wire, feature, and photographic services, sold to
newspapers outside their chains.
NEWS WIRE SERVICES
News of the world is fed into daily newspaper offices over
telegraph and telephone wires leased by three great rival
news agencies— Associated Press, United Press ( Scripps-How-
ard), and International News Service (Hearst). All three
maintain headquarters in New York and bureaus in Wash-
ington, state capitals, and other large cities, and correspon-
dents in newspaper offices in smaller centers. A bureau may
be the news center for a region, as Boston for New England,
or for a state, as Indianapolis for Indiana, or for part of a
state, as Cleveland for northern Ohio.
The local paper feeds back its own community's important
news to the wire service. It may be relayed throughout a
state, a region, or the nation. Included in this back-and-forth
news flow is considerable material originated by publicity
42 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
people and given by them to local newspapers, bureaus, or
headquarters of the wire services.
At the moment the publicity man gives information to the
press, he surrenders control of it. Now it is news, and the
editors, not he, decide how important it is, what to emphasize,
what to print, what to send over the wires, what to leave out.
Before it is published, at least half a dozen busy but alert
editors will pass judgment on it. It must compete with acci-
dental, incidental, and planned news from other sources.
Since the copy is bound to be rewritten, the facts must be
clearly stated, to assure accuracy. In the torrent of the day's
news, the publicity story will have most chance of survival if
it is professionally presented (see Chapter 7).
The normal flow of news is from East to West. Other things
being equal, a story is more likely to be carried throughout
the country by the wire services if it originates on the Atlantic
Coast than in the interior or on the Pacific Coast. For this
reason many publicity people supply duplicate copies of
their news material to wire-service headquarters in New York
even when the news originates at some distant point.
Suppose a company is announcing plans for an important
new plant at Atchison, Kans. Copies of the story would be
delivered simultaneously to the local newspaper, the wire-
service bureaus in Kansas City, Mo., and the wire-service
headquarters in New York. By this means, when the Kan-
sas City bureau listed this story, the editor in New York,
with a copy before him, could judge better whether to
"call it in" on the national trunk-line wires than if he had to
depend on the schedule from the bureau. That's the reason-
ing behind this practice.
Some equally competent publicity people disagree heartily
Reaching the Public: the Press 43
with this procedure. They have worked closely with local
newsmen and wire-service bureau chiefs, perhaps for years.
Here comes a really good story, for which their loyal and
cooperative friends should be credited. Why, these dissenters
ask, risk loss of good will and possible embarrassment? Better
to play along with the local and regional men who have so
often been asked for attention.
Two simple precautions can produce optimum results in
this oft-recurring situation:
1. Tell the bureau chief in confidence in advance that the
story is coming, and ask his consent before sending a dupli-
cate to his headquarters. (In most cases he won't object.)
2. Attach a note to the duplicate sent to wire-service head-
quarters: "Copy also filed with your Kansas City bureau."
American wire services are famous for their competitive
spirit. They work in split-second time. Therefore the utmost
fairness is demanded of the publicity man in delivering news
material to them. Whether dealing with headquarters or
bureaus, see to it that the news is telephoned to all at the
same time, or delivered by hand at the same time. Favoritism
or slipshod timing in this regard can be fatal to future accept-
ance of material.
Watch the time factor. A story released in New York at
6 p.m., too late for afternoon dailies, arrives in San Francisco
at 3 p.m., in plenty of time. The Dow-Jones financial wire
closes at 4:30 p.m., UP at 5 p.m., and AP at 6 p.m.,
New York time. If your story is released in the morning or
early afternoon, it will avoid being crowded out at the last
Company policies and practices may determine the precise
timing of financial news. The publicity man, however, should
44 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
apprise company heads of the news-time element. When mil-
lions are at stake, and publicity is an important factor, com-
panies have been known to change the time of meeting for the
board of directors or other groups, to obtain maximum pub-
The Dow-Jones wire, established originally as a financial
ticker service, has risen in importance as a business-news out-
let. Reuter's, British-owned, serves many foreign newspapers,
but includes some American newspapers and radio stations.
Science Service, headquartered in Washington, provides a
daily digest of science happenings to its clients by wire,
though it is mainly a feature service.
FEATURE AND PHOTO SERVICES
Not all newspaper material is so urgent it must travel by
wire. The three major wire services-known in the trade by
their initials, AP, UP, and INS-supplement this coverage
with daily packages of mailed material, mimeographed or
printed and accompanied by photographs and other illus-
trations in matrix form. Nearly four hundred other feature
services compete with them, supplying the widest variety of
information and entertainment, from fashions to philosophy
and from comic strips to conundrums. The output of the
daily columnists is handled by feature services, whether sent
by wire or sent by mail.
The feature output of the AP is handled by AP Newsfea-
tures; of UP, by NEA Service; of INS, by King Features and
Central Press Association. Large city newspapers sometimes
sell feature materials to others; e.g., Chicago Tribune-New
York News Syndicate, Des Moines Register-Tribune Syndi-
cate, New York Post Syndicate. Some other leading feature
Reaching the Public: the Press 45
services are Adams, Bell, McClure, McNaught, North Ameri-
can Newspaper Alliance, and Science Service.
Feature services want exclusive material as distinct from
spot news; often they do not accept features sent to anyone
else. But since they serve so many papers, it is worth while
to give them exclusive rights. They are not interested in this
morning's happening, but in the marvelous, the strange, the
odd, the fascinating information that lies behind the news.
Publication may wait a day, a week, a month, six months.
Thus the material must have more than momentary appeal.
It is more likely to be used in its original form than is a news
wire story. For this reason the best professional writing must
go into every story submitted.
AP, UP, INS, and a few other services send photographs
by wire to member papers, when the pictures are of immedi-
ate news value. However, most publicity photos go out by
mail, and most feature services handle them, either as glossy
prints or as matrices made from engravings of the pictures.
The publicity man's share in this task is done, in any case,
once his picture has been accepted by the feature service.
It is better to submit a negative with an 8- by 10-inch glossy
print, in dealing with a feature service, rather than to supply
prints in quantity. All editors who handle photographs are
eager for good ones, and their complaints about the quality
of those they receive from industry are insistent. In Chapter
9 some ways are outlined of providing editors with the kind
of pictures they will use.
Among the principal photo services are United Press Spe-
cial Services (formerly Acme Newspictures), AP Photo
Service, Black Star, International News Photos, and Wide
World, a feature subsidiary of the AP.
46 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Many scalps of publicity men hang from the belts of
weekly-newspaper editors, who are justified in their inde-
pendence, resistance to pressure, and stalwart guardianship
of their columns from what they consider free advertising.
Though no field of public influence has greater potential,
none has been more misused, misunderstood, and misinter-
preted. Individually, weekly newspapers are small enter-
prises. Taken together, they circulate to fifteen million
homes, where they are more carefully and thoroughly read
than any other examples of present-day journalism. Their
readership is shared by the entire family circle to a greater
degree than any other type of publication, so that they make
an impact on probably in excess of fifty million individuals
of all ages able to read.
The stereotyped image of an unkempt and rather lazy old
grandpa as the editor shuffling around his type cases and
peering over the top of his glasses at the stranger from the
next county belongs to the age of vaudeville. More typically,
the weekly-newspaper editor of today is the journalism-
college graduate, a leader in civic and community projects,
alert to social, economic, and political trends, who runs a
successful business enterprise, sees to it that most of his
subscribers get their names in the paper at least once a year,
and looks with some skepticism on the press releases that
flood his desk.
To appeal to this intelligent editor, the publicity man must
produce stories of interest to the readers of the weekly news-
paper. The editor has no difficulty whatever in finding some-
thing to fill up the paper. The weekly actually has more
Reaching the Public: the Press 47
individuality, more impress from the personality of its editor,
than the daily. Therefore any publicity directed to the weekly
should be tailored to its needs.
If the job to be done entails reaching several hundred
weeklies, then a subject of regional or state-wide appeal
may be effective. Standard Oil of Ohio has had great success
with a weekly cartoon sketch of some travel feature in the
state. The local-weekly editor, knowing that his community
or county will get its turn in the series, is happy to run this
instructive and well-produced feature. A national food com-
pany did well with a series of fish recipes in New England
weeklies, where fishing is an important local industry. A tool
manufacturer had no difficulty in placing a series of matrixed
features on "How to Be Handy around the House/' An elec-
tric-appliance manufacturer reaped a rich harvest of clip-
pings from weekly newspapers by sponsoring activities of
Four-H clubs in agricultural communities.
In several states, New York and Missouri among them,
publishers' associations have adopted stringent rules for
eliminating "publicity" stories that are only masked adver-
tising. Yet the officials of these associations, and their mem-
bers, are among the most cooperative when a legitimate
story, of genuine interest to readers, is submitted. Gaining
acquaintance with the publishers' associations is an excellent
way to learn what the weekly editors want and will use.
The time and trouble involved can save much stationery
and postage wasted on releases that nobody will print.
Many weeklies use ready-made feature material of farm,
small-town, or home interest, produced by Western News-
paper Union or American Press Association. These organiza-
tions, both of long standing, have won the confidence of
48 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
weekly editors. They will distribute for the publicity man
picture features in matrix form, properly labeled as pub-
licity, with the source given. The material must meet the
editorial standards of the organizations that handle it. The
publicity man pays for this service a little less than it would
have cost him to produce and distribute the feature. These
distributing organizations also provide reliable lists of weekly
newspapers that are constantly being revised and brought
down to date.
chapter 4 Reaching the Public: Magazines
Only for convenience do we classify magazines. Each has
its own character; few fall precisely into a category with
others. In practical work make up your own rule-of -thumb
classifications according to company requisites. Unlike a
newspaper story, which aims to relate changes and significant
background, a magazine article should be wrapped around
one central idea.
Straddling the newspaper and magazine fields is the Sun-
day supplement, a time-honored American institution, one of
the few in our journalism that have shown marked improve-
ment in the present age. The Denver Post, The New York
Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer furnish notable exam-
ples of Sunday magazine sections produced in large measure
by the paper's own staffs, but providing a market for the
free-lance writer whose source of material may well be some
industry's publicity department.
The syndicated Sunday supplement, such as This Week
(New York Herald Tribune), American Weekly (Hearst),
and Parade, is sold to Sunday newspapers, some of which
add all three to the bulk of leisurely Sunday reading. All are
excellent targets for stories and especially pictures from busi-
50 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Editorial requirements of these and other syndicated Sun-
day supplements vary widely. American Weekly's idea of
proper treatment of a science feature, for example, is so far
removed from that of the editors of This Week that a sub-
scriber who reads both in the same newspaper package on a
Sunday morning might conceivably be puzzled. This factor
should be borne in mind, with the realization that editorial
policy and treatment here involve much more interpretation
than in the day's run of news.
It is not always practicable to become acquainted with
every newspaper to which material is sent, but this can be
done with the Sunday supplement, whether home-grown or
syndicated. News releases should be sent to Sunday-supple-
ment editors only as a matter of information. The expecta-
tion is not that they will be used, but that they will suggest
a topic for a feature story. Picture stories, a group of photo-
graphs on a single topic, accompanied by a brief text, are
often welcomed. These must be exclusive.
Time and Newsweek, rival weeklies in magazine form,
digest this week's news for next week's reading. They are
reviews, so well edited and presented as to give a sense of
immediacy to happenings up to a fortnight old. One reason
they perform this skillful maneuver so well is that into their
offices flow publicity stories from a thousand sources, dated
for future release. This enables the weeklies to prepare their
many departments (Time has twenty-two) at comparative
leisure, and still publish stories on the same day they appear
in the newspapers.
So important is a "break" in Time or Newsweek that many
Reaching the Public: Magazines 51
publicity men time the newspaper release to coincide with
publication day of the newsweeklies. Some send copies of a
story to Time and Newsweek several days before copies go
to wire services and newspapers.
Just as on dailies, news material is directed to the depart-
ment likely to be interested. If accompanying pictures are
dramatic and arresting, they usually are sent with the story.
If their quality is ordinary, postage had better be saved, as
the pictures won't be used.
A result of covering Time and Newsweek with all releases
of national interest is that the newsweekly may develop its
own topical story, using the release as a starting point. Re-
searchers are sent out to collect more data, new lines of
inquiry are started, and what began as a release from one
company may appear as an over- all survey of an industrial
or other situation. The editors deal fairly with publicity
people, but exhibit no sense of obligation to mention a com-
pany or a product just because it was responsible for their
attention in the first place. Thus an article on a heating unit,
suggested by a release from one company, came out describ-
ing the business of a rival in detail, while the first company
received only a footnote.
It is well for the publicity man, therefore, to be realistic
in his expectations after he has provided information to one
of the newsweeklies. Their editorial reasoning is sound; they
recognize an obligation to their readers, not to their sources
of information. Next time the patient publicity man may be
In addition to supplying current releases to the newsweek-
lies, the publicity man may profit by tipping them off to
coming events, pointing out the significance of the rise of a
52 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
company official, or otherwise assisting busy staffmen to get
sources of information before anybody else. In this manner
many a cover picture or leading feature has been placed.
This practice boils down to the publicity man's acting as a
willing and intelligent helper to the editors: one of his most
Business Week focuses on business and industrial affairs
and reaches an immediately responsive readership. Its Wash-
ington coverage is recognized as the best in the business field.
Current news is boiled down. Feature articles are staff-
written, frequently at the suggestion of an alert publicity
The New Products section of Business Week welcomes
pictures and product stories from companies of every size.
A list of the section's do's and don't's, equally applicable in
sending material to other magazines, is so valuable we re-
print it with permission:
Do send the release on your new product directly to Business
Week's New Products Editor.
Describe your product fully, using nontechnical language wher-
Explain all your product's possible applications.
State the price and earliest delivery date.
Send, if at all possible, a good glossy photograph showing the
product in actual use.
Give your complete address and telephone number.
And don't send announcements of products that have been
on the market for some time or have been features elsewhere.
Attempt "pressure" methods by promises of advertising space
in Business Week.
Forget that each product is carefully weighed for its breadth
of interest or application.
Send lifeless retouched photographs or artists' sketches.
Reaching the Public: Magazines 53
Get discouraged if your new product fails to get mentioned in
Business Week. Try again the next time you have one.
BUSINESS, INDUSTRIAL, TECHNICAL
The old-fashioned term "trade magazine" embraces three
distinct classes of periodicals, the business, industrial, and
technical magazines. Here is an arbitrary but useful break-
down, with typical examples:
a. All business, all interests: American Business, Forbes,
Nations Business, Harvard Business Review.
b. All business, one principal interest: Purchasing, Retail-
ing, Financial World.
a. All industry, all interests: Duns Review, Factory
Management and Maintenance.
b. All industry, one principal interest: American Machin-
ist, Production Methods.
c. One industry (or group), all interests: Oil, Paint and
Drug Reporter, American Lumberman, Textile World.
d. One industry, one principal interest: American Drug-
gist (retail), Sheet Metal Worker (fabrication).
a. Containing mostly reprints of papers delivered before
technical or professional societies: Civil Engineering, Na-
tional Education Association Journal.
b. Stressing original articles: Progressive Architecture,
The household or shelter magazines are of basic interest
to companies making consumer goods. Some, like Better
54 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Homes and Gardens or American Home, concentrate on fac-
tual material; others, like Good Housekeeping or Ladies'
Home Journal, are really general magazines slanted to femi-
nine interest, embracing every aspect of home life, and also
extending into realms ordinarily of little interest to the pub-
licity worker, such as fiction or political and cultural subjects.
Many of them conduct service departments, sending com-
pany sales literature to inquirers on request.
Food, beauty, health, child-care, and equipment editors
of these magazines work hand and glove with publicity
people, offering publication of new-product news and pic-
tures, which may extend from a squib in the "back of the
book" to a leading feature article of a dozen pages.
Relationships with these editors— and their counterparts
on large daily newspapers and feature services— are some-
what different from anything else in publicity. For one thing,
the editor rapidly becomes an expert in her field. She visits
factories, hobnobs with divisional and company heads, asso-
ciates with advertising directors more than most editors, and
becomes thoroughly acquainted with design, fabrication, and
Not only does she learn from business leaders, she teaches
them, too. An Ohio equipment manufacturer held annual
"kitchen clinics" to which household editors of a score of
magazines were invited, to ask them questions about the
proper height for the kitchen sink, the optimum arrangement
of major items such as range, refrigerator, and service
counters, and even the building of partitions in cupboard
The manufacturer of a product intended for the home,
therefore, depends on the household-magazine editor for far
Reaching the Public: Magazines 55
more than publicizing his goods. By her objective appraisal
of his merchandise she makes him aware that he has com-
petition to meet, and it is only rarely, after long relationship,
that she depends on his claims alone. She tests his wallpaper
or fabric or electric toaster in the magazine's own laboratory,
in many cases, and what she prints is based on its findings.
Probably only the science- and industrial-magazine editors
are anywhere nearly as well acquainted with the inner work-
ing of industry, and even their scope is usually more limited
Publicity departments of companies making household
merchandise now offer wide opportunity to women in both
creative and executive capacities, a logical policy that was
slow in developing but is becoming nearly universal. The
major reason for this is the influence of the shelter magazines,
which were the first to prove that women can approach
industrial manufacturing and distribution problems objec-
tively. This does not mean that the distaff side has completely
taken over the job of dealing with these editors, but each
year witnesses an increase in the warmth of the welcome
afforded by industry.
The farm-magazine field can be a booby trap for the pub-
licity man who lumps these publications together. A single
magazine, such as Wallace's Farmer, may have half a dozen
editions, going into different territories and changing edi-
torial content to some extent for each. Country Gentleman
and Farm Journal are general magazines aimed at the rural
audience in the same way that Woman's Home Companion
is a general magazine with a feminine slant.
56 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Most farm magazines have women's departments, which
call for material with both woman and farm appeal; some,
like Electricity on the Farm, express their special interest in
their titles. There are magazines for the gentleman-farmer,
for the poultryman, the horticulturist, the dairy farmer, and
the orchardist. Others cut across all farm interests but focus
on a single territory, as Rural New Yorker or Southern Agri-
With decreasing farm population and increasing farm pro-
duction, the per capita spending power of the farmer has
multiplied, a fact that publicity people largely have failed to
capitalize on. Farm editors say they are treated as step-
children by organizations that blanket them with information
not slanted to their needs, not written for their audiences,
not beamed on their markets.
Here is perhaps a place in which reputations will be made
by publicity people seeking new worlds to conquer. The
easy way, too frequently followed, is to send to the farm
publications mimeographed copies of general stories. The
more productive way is to explore the special needs of the
periodical to be covered, correspond with the editor, and
come up with text and illustrations he will gladly use.
This applies not only to product publicity, but also to
material reflecting a genuine interest in the farm audience.
Almost wistfully, the farm leaders of the country long have
asked from business an exploration of common interests.
Both groups are conservative in attitude; each lacks under-
standing of the objectives and attitudes of the other. With
the equipment at hand to tell its story, economic, sociolog-
ical, and technical, to the farmer, business has proved a lag-
gard, largely permitting government bureaus to take over
Reaching the Public: Magazines 57
the job of imparting a version of what's going on in the
country as a whole. The individual company may feel a
limited responsibility in this regard, but trade and industrial
associations, most of which have competent publicity de-
partments or counsel, could undertake the task, if they had
Publications of organized religious groups in the United
States have a combined circulation of approximately eighteen
million. Offhand they would seem to offer little scope for
business publicity, and certainly blatant promotion of a prod-
uct or a company name would get short shrift from the edi-
tors. Some sincere publicity people, however, have discovered
that there is a possible convergence of interest— when the
business organization has something worth while to say.
The vice president of a large corporation, as a prominent
layman, gained his first recognition through the unselfish
labors of an understanding publicity man. A foreman in a
Detroit factory, who made a practice of delivering brief
homilies on ethical subjects during the noon hour in his
department, was surprised to find himself the subject of an
entertaining and helpful article in a denominational pub-
Depending on one's point of view, the audience to be
reached may or may not be considered important. Only a
few publicity people have taken the trouble to explore the
possibilities. These few have found that community and
welfare projects, social programs involving health, moral,
and ethical principles, met ready acceptance as topics in the
58 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Many practical publicity directors, while recognizing in a
general way that every vehicle of communication should
have some legitimate uses, feel that religion is a dangerous
ground to venture on. And so it is, if one is absorbed by the
mechanics of production and distribution. Nothing could be
more reprehensible than a sly approach to the religious press,
and the inhibitions of those who hesitate are understandable.
We merely cite the record that those who believe just rec-
ognition of ethical accomplishments is worth working for
find here a willingness to afford it when deserved.
Three national publications aim at the elementary, junior-,
and senior-high-school student, providing him with maga-
zines carefully edited for his age group and attempting to
cover the world of his interests. These are Scholastic, Young
America, and Current Events. All have large circulations,
receive the approval of educational authorities, and find in
industry much of interest for their young readers. By cover-
ing the editors of the student press with selected releases
and occasionally offering material for a special illustrated
feature, information on research, product, or company ac-
complishment reaches into the typical home through a new
As a rule, material will be rewritten by staffs competent
to choose facts and vocabulary that are appropriate. A single
picture or picture story ( photographs and detailed captions )
often is acceptable, but woe to the publicity man who slips
up on a tiny mechanical detail. He will think all the small
fry in America have pounced on him.
Reaching the Public: Magazines 59
The masculine-appeal publications are interested in home
or workshop gadgets, attire (Esquire), scientific marvels, and
inventions. They include True, Argosy, and three highly
competitive rivals, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science
Monthly, and Mechanix Illustrated. Business articles, strictly
slanted to their special audiences, are sometimes used by
Rotarian, Kiwanian, Elks, and American Legion, all member-
ship magazines; and American Legion also has a new prod-
EMPLOYEE AND CUSTOMER MAGAZINES
The employee magazine, like that aimed at the customer,
is a tailor-made product often embraced in publicity work.
Problems of editing and distribution are discussed in Chap-
ter 13. Here it is worth noting, however, that the publica-
tions of other companies often present an opportunity to
publicize one's own organization, as many of them are open
to outside material. A historical project or one embracing
an entire industry can receive widespread usage in this type
of publication. Here is the place for quotes from your own
management, giving the philosophy and political or social
observations made by members of your top management.
The fact that this material may have been used elsewhere is
not a deterrent as a rule.
To "make" The Saturday Evening Post, The Readers Di-
gest, Colliers, or one of the other big national magazines is
the dream of many publicity people. Somebody is accom-
60 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
plishing this worth-while service every week of the year, but
not by pulling off a smart trick, lavishly entertaining the
editors, or exerting influence on the business office.
The formula is extremely simple, which does not mean
it is easy: Have a clean-cut, well-organized presentation of a
significant, entertaining, and novel subject, complete in every
detail, with no strings hanging loose from the package; bring
it to the attention of some editor, from Ben Hibbs or De Witt
Wallace to the newest shuffler of the "slush pile," and it will
attract the attention it deserves. All elements and auguries
being favorable, the combination of time, space, and edi-
torial tastes fusing perfectly, some morning you will open
what henceforth will be your favorite magazine and see your
story in print.
The plague of editors is the publicity man who thinks he
can do it some other way. Possibly the public relations coun-
selor, who is one step removed from the industry and may
have a wider scope of interests than a company employee,
is better equipped to make a first-rate presentation than the
person on a company staff; but this is a controversial matter
and even if it is true does not invalidate the rule: Present
what the editor wants.
To search out the reason why publicity people can go to
the biggest of the general magazines with assurance, one has
to understand the make-up of the editorial mind. Editors are
perhaps the least arrogant of any professional class. Riding
the tumult of popular favor, they seldom are misled into
thinking they direct it. Humility (not to be confused with
timidity or self-deprecation) is the characteristic of the suc-
cessful editor. Just now we are considering the great men of
journalism, those whose judgment affects millions and tens
Reaching the Public: Magazines 61
of millions. The man (or woman) of caliber to be trusted
with this responsibility will not be glib, smug, pompous, or
ponderous. He is able to listen well, and to accept the
opinions of subordinates without feeling the embarrassment
of retreat from an assumed position of superiority.
A major article in a big national magazine bears the im-
print, therefore, of several and perhaps many judgments.
Rarely is it selected from the day's mail, but the contents of
the mailbag, dumped out and called the slush pile, are sorted
with the utmost care, in the hope that one idea might lurk
in a million words, all of which will be read by someone on
the staff. From the idea hidden in a casual manuscript-
including stuff from publicity people— a team of staff editors
goes to work. The original source of the idea is consulted.
If this source bears a familiar writing name, that will ease
the editors' minds, but little else, for the processing will go
on just the same. The reason it will ease the editors' minds
is that they will have some assurance that when the idea
plucked from the manuscript is sent back to the source and
he is asked fifty questions about it and requested to gather
and send in a great deal more information than first
submitted, he won't be scared, hurt, or indignant, but
will go to work on the topic with professional compe-
From then on it is a matter of consultation, writing, edit-
ing, rewriting, getting more facts, re-editing, and rewriting
yet again, until the editorial team is ready to say the article
should be published and the top editor accedes to this group
With this background, the industrial publicity man is in
position to submit his material in such shape that it causes
62 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
the least possible wear and tear on the editors and on himself.
Two methods of approach are recommended:
1. Send a brief letter outlining the contents of an article
as you visualize it, with a request that the editor consider
assigning a writer to work it up. When this is done, it is
absolutely essential to have your complete "package" ready
in advance— every fact, every detail, every illustration ap-
proved and ready to submit the moment it is called for. If
outstanding pictures are a major selling point, select the one
best, and send it with your letter, listing the others.
2. Instead of approaching the magazine, discuss the topic
with a writer whose work regularly appears there. Give him
everything; don't hold back. If he thinks the article will have
a chance, he will get in touch with the editors, thus provid-
ing them with the ease of mind we mentioned. Naturally he
will tell them openly where he got the information, and your
company's connection with the article will be clear all round.
There is a notion held by many amateurs that editors back
away from anything having to do with industry or commerce.
That's not so. The editor, in fact, doesn't give a hoot one way
or the other whether your company is going to gain by the
publicity. He is thinking of his responsibility to his readers,
and your part is a minor incident in his attention. He will
play fair; that is, he won't use pictures without due credit, or
exclusive, important material without naming the source,
but he will not submit the article for your company presi-
dent's O.K., though he might request rechecking of facts to
National general magazines expect exclusive use of the
facts and pictures supplied them and sometimes require a
guarantee that they will not be submitted for publication
Reaching the Public: Magazines 63
elsewhere for six months after first use. This is entirely
proper, in view of their immense circulations.
The picture magazines are well worth covering with good
single pictures and picture stories, whether exclusive or not.
At times your picture may be discarded, but the magazine
will send its own photographer to take similar pictures. This
is done with a purpose— to obtain something just a little
different from what competing magazines might use. A per-
sonal call at the editorial offices of the picture books to show
your wares to an editor is the recommended approach, when
you have an exclusive subject to present. If you are located
far from New York City, work with the staff editor nearest
you, whose name and address you will find in the magazine.
chapter 5 Reaching the Public: Books
The private office of one important manufacturer contains
an expensive small table, on which have been placed two
jade book ends, supporting a single volume, Who's Who in
America. A gold bookmark has been inserted with a studied
air of casualness, at the page on which the biographical
sketch of the head of the company appears. This self-made
man is justly proud of his inclusion among the mighty, and
the reverence with which he treats the only book in his office
is an accolade for his publicity man, who was responsible for
gaining him this deserved recognition.
As a mark of prestige, the book bound in hard covers has
no equal in the realm of business. Not to discount the impor-
tance of its contents, one of its practical advantages, from
the publicity point of view, is that people hesitate to throw
a book away. It may be unflattering to authors, but books
are made to be seen as well as to be read.
In varying degrees, respect for the bound volume is prev-
alent throughout management. Particularly since World
War II, hundreds of companies have sponsored the produc-
tion of bound books to be used for publicity purposes. The
subject may be the history of the company, the biography
Reaching the Public: Books 65
of its founder, a description of the present-day business, or a
collection of treatises written by various members of the
management. Such books are sold through ordinary trade
channels if they are of sufficient general interest. More often
they are distributed at company expense, to libraries, schools,
and colleges, editors, legislators, and others who influence
opinion. Among the recipients are also the heads of customer
When these books are well written and professionally
edited and published, they come out of the class of sales-
promotion literature and stand on their own merits as worth
reading and keeping. Many are invaluable reference works,
many preserve data, records, and illustrations that otherwise
would have disappeared. The fact that they are physically
well and attractively made assures them a permanent place
on the bookshelves of important people. There they serve as
constant reminders of the status and ability of the companies
that fathered them.
Though the publicity man recognizes the literary and busi-
ness functions of company books, his mundane eye is on
their influence, which he seeks to spread as far as possible.
Therefore he uses the company's book as a springboard for
other kinds of publicity. It can be the subject of newspaper,
magazine, radio, and television reviews, interviews, feature
articles, and programs. If the book bears the signature of a
prominent member of management, it is a wonderful door
opener when an opportunity is sought for that man to make
a public appearance before some business, technical, com-
munity, or popular group. A year's publicity program has
been built around a single book— a good one, with content
worthy this exploitation, with presentation worthy content.
66 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Some company books, however, have proved disappoint-
ing. They were turned over to the advertising department or
agency to produce, and they look and read like advertise-
ments; or they were actually written by management men,
edited by their secretaries, sent to the local printer, and de-
livered to the purchasing department, which put most of
them in a storeroom where they lie moldering, against the
day when the iceman cometh and they are cast away.
It is not necessary to go to the printer, the promotion man,
or the so-called vanity publisher to produce a company book.
Reputable publishers, large and small, take over production
and distribution and even recommend competent profes-
sional business writers to prepare the manuscript. In some
cases the company responsible for the book pays standard
charges for these services; in others, when there is a reason-
able prospect of trade sales, the company merely engages to
purchase a few thousand copies for its own business use.
Such copies may be given to other members of the trade, to
company associates, employees, customers, and other busi-
ness friends. This conservative method, using well-known
and established publishing facilities, is recommended
over the homespun or amateur approach to the company
When the new textbook on electricity comes out, will the
frontispiece show a Westinghouse turbogenerator or a Gen-
eral Electric automatic control board? Will the author of a
book on synthetics choose three pictures from American
Viscose and only two from du Pont? Why was the president
of your competing company asked to contribute his views to
Reaching the Public: Books 67
a book called Back to Economic Sanity when your president
could have done it twice as well?
The mazes of the book-publishing world bewilder even
an experienced publicity worker; but, like Theseus in the
labyrinth of Crete, he may find his way out by a simple
ruse: a thread trailing behind him, a thread of continuity
of contact with and service to book editors. Only a few of
the larger companies consistently seek to penetrate into
books with their publicity, yet this field is open to all who
have suitable material.
Business books take a long time between planning and
publication. (This one took three years.) In the interim,
editors and authors alike search for suitable illustrations and
occasionally, in the case of books made up of chapters by
different authorities, for appropriate coauthors. By keeping
book editors informed of material available, especially illus-
trations, it is possible to give them access to unsuspected
sources when need arises.
Some companies produce inexpensive folders of typical
illustrations from their files, for the ready reference of book
editors. These do double duty in the magazines, which some-
times need "stock shots" to illustrate an article. Other com-
panies make a practice of covering book editors with glossy
prints of photographs of probable interest, rather a costly
Perhaps a more practical method is to establish contacts
in publishing houses which bring out books in one's partic-
ular field, and then keep those contacts alive by occasional
reminders of one's existence. This can be done by phone, by
letter, by infrequent submission of key pictures. Editorial
plans are sometimes confidential; it is often not feasible to
68 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
request advance lists of books in preparation, though in some
cases this information is made available. In this realm of
publicity there is no really good substitute for shoe leather,
for opening doors and making personal acquaintances.
In encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, and yearbooks
the lasting results of many publicity efforts are to be found.
The field is not large, but the penetration can be important,
for a bound reference work, though dated for the current
year, may continue in use for a decade. Trade associations
which gather data for an entire industry are the source of
much reference-book material. A company research scien-
tist or other authority may be asked to write on his specialty.
This is excellent recognition and can be obtained, when
appropriate, by an alert publicity man, through the simple
expedient of letting the reference-book editors know the man
and his data are available. For this purpose it is well to pre-
sent a biographical sketch of the company author, including
a list of previous writings.
chapter 6 Reaching the Public: Audiences
To write a clear, interesting, and forceful company state-
ment is hard enough. The authority who issues the statement,
however, can get his publicity man to put the words to-
gether, even to help out on the thinking involved, and on
occasion to perform the entire chore, requiring only an O.K.
But when a personal appearance is involved, before an
audience, a microphone, or a television camera, an entirely
new set of skills is called for. Here the publicity man can be
of invaluable service in preparing his man for the task and
in putting the words in his mouth. Both must come to the
moment, though, when the ghost becomes invisible and the
speaker is on his own.
Physical, mental, and moral courage are needed. Many
speakers lose pounds of weight in this ordeal. The mind can
go blank; and this is literally true and no joke. The primitive
and deep-lying fear of facing a crowd can grip a normally
brave man and paralyze him. Beyond all this is the practical
likelihood that the meaning of the words spoken will be mis-
understood, misinterpreted, corrupted, and tortured to mean
something else. The horror of being misquoted makes re-
sponsible men quail at times. So let us face the fact that
most company speakers are afraid of publicity they make
themselves by appearing in public— even those who love it.
70 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
This torture is imposed on the speaker, not the publicity
man. Few more delicious moments are experienced by an
ink-stained wretch whose golden words flow from the mouth
of his creature than as he sits in an obscure place in meeting
hall or studio and listens to the inflections he has taught,
sees the gestures he has created, hears his sallies applauded,
his wit rock the audience, his eloquence ring the rafters.
If the speaker bumble a quotation, however, the specter
who included it blushes with shame. If he skip a page or a
paragraph, his whilom master in oratory cringes, and his
heart pounds as he remembers this was the lead statement
of the publicity release which even now the reporters at the
press table, having scorned the banquet, are scanning with
fishy eye; and if in headlong enthusiasm the speaker actually
depart from the manuscript, and ignoring the studied peri-
ods, the gradual build-up to a crescendo of thundering
triumph, lamely attempt to substitute his own words and
ideas for those of his ghost, it is the publicity man who
loses pounds of weight, his countenance a sickly green, his
hands gripping the arms of his chair in order to prevent
himself from slipping under the table or slashing his wrists
with a salad fork. (The last sentence was written, dear
reader, to prove a point: that 130 words are not necessarily
too many for one sentence, though seldom advisable, if your
sense is clear.)
Such things do happen. Any public appearance of a com-
pany speaker involves risk. This is one of the most valuable
of all publicity vehicles, but to be ridden only by the intrepid.
Yet it would be folly to avoid it, for the spoken words are
multiplied many times, if they are worthy, by appearing in
print, as we shall see.
Reaching the Public: Audiences 71
GETTING TALENT IN YOUR COMPANY
Many of the smartest men in your company may hesitate
to appear as speakers because they believe they cannot give
a creditable performance. The rule here is, do not press, but
persuade. Better to lose a speaker and the resultant pub-
licity than to force or euchre an unwilling speaker into a
situation where he does not feel adequate. An offer of assist-
ance, however, may give the potential speaker just the little
shove he needs.
There may be other, younger men who could shine. It is
the publicity man's job to find hidden talent and to exploit
it for the company's benefit. It is a good practice to start a
man's speaking career before a small group, close to home,
where some of his seniors may observe and report on his
GETTING ON PROGRAMS
The larger companies, with their speakers' bureaus and
seemingly endless resources of speaking talent, are some-
times accused of "hogging the limelight" on convention and
similar programs. This is not because the organizations
holding the meetings wish it so, but because they have
difficulty finding good speaking talent among smaller com-
Then, too, the larger organizations are usually not so much
afraid of telling "trade secrets." But a good speaker from a
smaller company can usually be placed on an appropriate
program, provided arrangements are made at least six months
in advance. In many cases, a year is needed.
The publicity man handling a smaller company may do
72 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
well by taking a leaf from the book of the big fellows. They
do not turn down requests for appearances at chapter or
sectional meetings. If you are building a speaker's reputation,
let him practice and perfect himself before small groups; an
invitation for a more important appearance is quite likely
to stem from such occasions.
WRITING THE SPEECH
Care should be exercised not to rob the talk of the speaker's
own characteristics of language and thought habits. If he is
given too much help, he may just memorize the publicity
man's speech, and it will sound like it, too.
A practical means of solving the speech-writing problem
is to use a wire or tape recorder, while you chat with the
speaker and draw him out. His ideas and language patterns
will come more freely and with more freshness than if either
he or you tried to put the ideas on paper at first.
This method is recommended even for technical papers.
If the speaker is of an orderly mind, his address will march
along in precise fashion, although he is just talking it over.
A dictating machine may be substituted, provided the
speaker is used to it.
COACHING THE SPEAKER
The president of a Pennsylvania company was scheduled
to talk on radio for the first time. The "informal chat" was
taken off the wire recorder, processed into an interview
script. Then the speaker was told to take it home, rehearse
three times ( with his college-boy son acting as interviewer ) ,
and then put the script away until the day of the broadcast.
The higher an official, the more readily he will listen to pro-
Reaching the Public: Audiences 73
fessional advice on preparation of a speech. In this case, sug-
gestions were followed literally, with good results.
Coach the speaker to use his imagination constructively
on the things he should do, rather than destructively on fears
of what might happen. Do not hesitate to help the biggest
official in your company on speech preparation. He will
Suppose it is your job to arrange for a man from your
company to speak at a luncheon. Following is a check list of
the principal steps involved:
1. Get confirmation in writing, with no exceptions, as to
the firmness of the speaking date, specifying precise time,
place, and length of your man's speech.
2. Get names and subjects of speakers who will precede
and follow your man on the program. Procure in advance a
copy of the seating arrangements at the speakers' table.
3. Provide the meeting chairman, well in advance, with
material for the introduction of your speaker. Do not hesitate
to write this in the form you would like it presented. Avoid
tricky, jocose, and lengthy introductions; the emcee will add
his own clever touches if he wishes, but do not take on such
a dangerous responsibility.
4. Get an estimate of the size of the audience. If possible,
visit the room yourself, check the acoustics, and make a
rough sketch of the layout of speakers' table, etc.
5. In a large meeting, set one table aside for the press, as
near as possible to the speakers' table. Have a small sign set
up on a standard, marked "Press." Strangely, newsmen prefer
their own company to that of others at such functions.
74 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Gently but firmly shoo guests away who try to crash the
press table. As the man in charge of publicity, you will be
6. Have copies of a news release ( Chapter 7 ) and photo-
graphs (Chapter 9) available to hand out, not before but
during your man's talk. If a reporter must leave early, be
reasonable; accompany him out of the room and give him
7. If a demonstration or visual aids such as filmslides,
charts, flannelboard, or motion pictures are to be used, never
trust the hotel or other meeting place to provide facilities
without personal checkup. Know where electric outlets are.
Find out whether fire department or union permits are
needed. Do not be content with assurances from the organ-
ization sponsoring the talk. This is your show, your job;
excuses that a blunder was not your fault won't save the day,
but forethought can do so.
8. Arrange for your own photographer. Invite press pho-
tographers if the occasion warrants it. Do not let a micro-
phone blot out your man's face from the camera. Inconspic-
uously remove any array of liquor or wineglasses in front
of him. (Yes, you can go right up and do it, before he starts
speaking, if an intelligent waiter is not close by to do it for
you.) You may even make bold to approach the table and
tell your man to straighten his tie or adjust his pocket hand-
kerchief, if necessary. Try (you can only try) not to let his
picture be taken while he is managing a conspicuous forkful
9. If the talk is to be broadcast, better to do this on tape
before the function, cooperating with the radio-station staff.
You don't want your man cut off in the middle of his speech.
Reaching the Public: Audiences 75
All broadcasting arrangements must be made well in ad-
Make sure that someone familiar with the meeting place
(preferably you) accompanies your company speaker, to
introduce him, if unacquainted, with the contact man of the
sponsoring organization. Then you may quietly proceed to
shepherd the gentlemen of the fourth estate to the press
table. Do not be precipitate, however. At the preprandial
cocktail session, newsmen will temporarily overcome any
predisposition not to mingle with other guests, and this is
a natural and appropriate time for your speaker to meet them
GETTING THE NEWS KERNEL
A technical address was given recently before an en-
gineering society by a distinguished research man who was
little known to the general public. Hidden among the graphs
and formulas was a reference to the use of moving side-
walks underground. This sensational idea had the world-of-
tomorrow air which editors like. Yet to the engineers pres-
ent it was only a minor note in an important address.
The publicity man who handled the speech was alert to
find the "news kernel" which in reporting a speech makes
all the difference. He obtained millions of circulation which
might easily have been lost. What is important to the learned
often seems dull to the radio listener or the newspaper
reader (who buys our goods); and the trivial item often
shines forth as a gem of news.
RELEASING THE NEWS
Frequently a company speaker will appear on a program
of an engineering society, manufacturers' association, etc.
76 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
This calls for close cooperation between the company pub-
licity department and the individual or organization handling
publicity for the society.
Clear, detailed understanding as to responsibilities should
be established well in advance, preferably in writing. The
company may be asked to handle newspapers only, business
magazines only, or be given freedom to get all the publicity
it can for its man and his speech. Help is usually welcomed,
but duplicated effort is not.
STAGING PRESS CONFERENCES
The practice of holding a press conference just before
or just after an important speech is growing. The purpose
is to afford the press an opportunity to ask questions, to
penetrate more deeply into a subject than does the set
A press conference should not be called just to please the
company speaker, but if he is a man of stature, and the oc-
casion warrants it, the press will cooperate by attending.
Newspaper men are not impressed, however, by free
meals or cocktails, if there is no story forthcoming (see
WHEN ALL IS SAID AND . . .
The end of the speech should not be the end of the pub-
licity. A good talk should have a life of at least a year. From
it should stem filler material, feature stories, future radio
and television appearances, perhaps a magazine article.
If you have discovered a company speaker of real talent,
there is no reason to limit his audience to one occasion. The
same man, the same speech, can be used a dozen, two
Reaching the Public: Audiences 77
dozen times. It is only then that the real dividends in pres-
tige or sales become visible.
The publicity man is in more danger of tiring of the
speech than is the public. To be sure, the same old pub-
licity material cannot be used again and again with the same
papers. Fresh material, new and sparkling ideas, should be
"fed into" the speech for each occasion. It is the penetra-
tion of effect, not the immediate audience or press reaction
the first time, that is the real test of the quality of a company
WIDENING THE AUDIENCE
The audience for a single speech can be increased many
times over by employment of various mechanical means
such as radio, television, filmstrips, motion pictures, and
traveling exhibits. The fundamentals we outlined are adapt-
able and applicable to all of them, and each lends itself
to other publicity material as well. Some of these media of
communication are discussed in later chapters in detail. Here
a few words are needed to explain how radio, television,
and trie speakers' bureau can be used.
To reach a radio audience, the publicity man deals with
news or program directors in individual stations, in one
or more of the four national networks— American Broadcast-
ing Company, Columbia Broadcasting System, Mutual
Broadcasting System, and National Broadcasting Company—
or with outside agencies.
The three major press associations supplv news to radio
stations as well as to newspapers. If information supplied
78 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
is considered usable for radio, it is rewritten for the radio
audience by the press association, which has an expert staff
for this purpose. For straight news of company activities,
it is not advisable for the publicity man to rework the ma-
terial for radio himself, and as a rule nothing is gained by
sending duplicate copies to the press-association radio
desks. Feature material, for such outlets as household pro-
grams, often is used, however. This should be presented on
the same basis as newspaper feature material, exclusively
to one of the press associations. Like newspapers, the
radio stations that receive such material are free to use or
Advertising agencies which sponsor individual programs
are valuable sources of contact for publicity people, as they
frequently prepare an entire program without recourse to
the creative facilities of the station or the network. Other
radio agencies are in the business of working up and selling
"package" programs, such as the quiz shows and forums.
Here the program director, who works for the agency, makes
the decision whether to accept a proffered speaker or panel
Only rarely is it effective to approach a radio sponsor
directly with publicity material. Such an exceptional case
might arise when the sponsor is a large supplier of goods
to one's company, and thus feels a common interest. For
example, if a maker of containers sponsored a radio show,
he might receive cordially from his largest customer a sug-
gestion that he make some mention of the customer's
product, research, or repute. The details would be handled,
of course, through the advertising agency.
For the great bulk of the millions of words of publicity
Reaching the Public: Audiences 79
material going out on ether waves, however, the program
director is most likely to make the decision. On national
network programs, he is usually located in New York, Los
Angeles, or Chicago. The thirty-five or more regional net-
works also are receptive to ideas of interest often involving
industrial publicity. Here, again, it is the network program
director to whom material should be offered. Obviously it
must be of distinct regional interest.
To the publicity man who wants to get a company spokes-
man on the air, television is merely an enlargement of radio.
The same means of approach are used, but the opportunity
is narrower. With rapid expansion of the number of tele-
vision stations, however, increased local opportunities are
developing. Television does provide a means of showing
products as part of the background, "props" in a stage set-
ting, though no direct credit is usually given. A carpet manu-
facturer, for example, might supply a newly designed floor
covering for this purpose, a maker of kitchen equipment
might get his range or sink on the set, and so forth. Cos-
turners, jewelers, and the like make constant use of this type
of publicity and at times do get their names in the credit
Many companies and a few industrial associations schedule
speaking activities through the entire year, reaching thou-
sands of auditors through speeches that are repeated many
times. Frequently this is done through a speakers' bureau, an
activity headquarters which selects subjects, prepares the
80 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
talks, coaches the speakers, provides visual-aid materials,
arranges dates for appearances before organizations, and
handles newspaper and other publicity.
A clear-cut purpose for such a bureau is a first requisite.
The publicity man who plans one as part of his work should
beware of getting lost in the fog of a fuzzy objective. Put
the purpose on paper, stating it in a few words. Check this
statement with the top executive concerned, and show it
to everyone connected with the proposal. This will prevent
Typical worth-while purposes might include one or more
of the following:
Gain prestige in the industry.
Build the reputation of a spokesman.
"Make news" for newspaper and radio publicity.
Improve area community relations.
Familiarize special groups with company history and ac-
Recruit new employees.
Build a dealer organization.
Present the product line.
Explain company policies.
Counteract unfavorable situations.
Uphold our present economic system.
Next in importance is to assure yourself of a manpower
reservoir of speakers. This is the trickiest boobytrap in set-
ting up a speakers' bureau. Those who, when first asked,
volunteer to take on this extra and demanding chore may
prove not to be dependable. Some who are selected because
of company rank may not be suitable for the purpose. And
Reaching the Public: Audiences 81
there is a danger of overworking those who agree to take
Though announcement of formation of a speakers' bureau
may bring applause within the company, a far better pro-
cedure is to put it into operation on an experimental scale
at first; talk about it after it has functioned successfully for
Adequate research, preparation of the talks, tactful but firm
coaching of speakers, and arrangement of dates are time-
consuming. It is deceptively easy to get platforms for com-
pany speakers. The behind-the-scenes work is what really
Methodical survey of the area and types of groups to
be reached will prevent much wasted effort. One company,
with a nine-county region to cover in plant-community work,
set up the following schedule of procedure, which worked
out well and has since been adapted to other parts of the
Trace on a map the precise area to be covered.
List types of organizations to be reached, such as schools,
service clubs, chambers of commerce, women's clubs, church
groups, lodges, civic associations, professional groups, labor
unions, war veterans, farmer groups, and safety councils.
From local, regional, or national sources of these organi-
zations, obtain lists of their units functioning in the area,
with names and addresses of officers and size of local mem-
bership. Make up a master list of all organizations potential
for coverage. The total will surprise you.
After your manpower reservoir of speakers has been as-
sured, send out a form letter to those organizations you wish
to reach, throughout the area, asking whether a company
82 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
speaker would be welcomed at a future meeting. In this
letter suggest, but do not specify too precisely, the range
of subjects available.
Preferably by personal contact, arrange definite speaker,
subject, and date.
Prepare advance publicity story, with prints of picture
of speaker, for distribution to local and area newspapers,
by sponsoring organization.
Prepare news release based on speech, for distribution
by sponsoring organization on date of speech. Depending
on the importance of the occasion, other publicity materials,
such as text of speech, also may be prepared for distribution.
Send copies of publicity clippings, with a covering letter
of thanks, to the official of the sponsoring organization re-
sponsible for making arrangements. This is a detail too
often neglected. It represents the valuable follow-through
which clinches the good will obtained by the speech. (An-
other set of copies of all publicity should be given to the
chapter 7 News Releases
A news release is the physical form by which the planned
news, or publicity, of industry is given to news outlets.
Usually it consists of one or more mimeographed sheets of
paper, and except in Federal-government bureaus the uni-
versal rule is to use only one side of the paper. The govern-
mental publicist knows better than to use both sides, but in
the name of economy is forced into this time-wasting prac-
tice. As a result, the prose on the back side of the government
handout is ordinarily scratched out by busy copy editors.
This is to the advantage of the business publicist, who is
competing for the use of space or time.
It is essential to identify the source of the publicity being
presented to editors. This may be done by printing the
company name and address, including telephone number,
at the top of the first sheet, or by typing this information at
the upper left corner. The publicity agency usually prefers
the typed identification, which may read like this:
FROM: Community Relations, Inc.
10 East 43d Street, New York 17, N. Y.
Telephone: MUrray Hill 7-469S
FOR: Barrington Associates, Inc.
84 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Note that the name of the client company in this case
is always given, but not its address and telephone number.
This agency practice prevents confusion and gives the editor
or radio director a single source at which to make further
inquiry. It is a convenience all round.
Many publicity men, both in companies and in agencies,
also give their own names as part of the identification. This
makes it easy for inquiries to be funneled straight to an in-
dividual. In the larger companies this is sometimes frowned
upon, however, because of the rate of turnover of personnel.
From a company point of view, it is held, the lack of per-
sonal-relationship setup is more than offset by the advantage
of continuity. The New York public relations officer of the
Canadian National Railways accomplishes both ends by
having his name, Joe H. Fountain, appear at the end of the
release, though the rest of the identification is in the usual
upper left position.
Four typewriter space lines under the last line of the
identification, the time of the release should be written in
capital letters flush to the left-hand margin, thus:
FOR RELEASE TO AM'S OF MONDAY, SEPT. 2, 1963
This indicates that the news is for publication in morning
newspapers (AM's) of the date given. Note that the day of
the week should always be included, and so should the year:
the first, for editors' convenience; the second for yours when
referring to old files. If there is no time element, simply
write "For Release at Will" or "For Immediate Release," but
in such a case write the date the release was sent at the top
right of the first page.
News Releases 85
THE RELEASE HEADING
A practice disliked by many copy editors is an attempt
to write the headline of your news story. Though it persists,
it is fortunately dwindling. Every editor faces problems of
type size and style which the publicity man can scarcely
know in advance. The chances are slim that your story will
get printed as you wrote it, but they are nil that your head-
line effort will be used. Still, some identification of subject
matter is called for. The accepted practice is to write one
line, as brief as possible, that catalogues the story and hints
of its content, like this :
GOOGLEPLEX NAMES R. A. JONES TREASURER
That gives the name of the company, the name of the
man, and the name of his position. This sort of identifying
line is called a "slug."
At the beginning of the first paragraph of the text of the
story, when intended for timely use, write the date:
HARTFORD CITY, Ind., Sept. L-
Note that the name of the place is typed in capitals, the
state and month in lower case.
Your story is intended for publication in morning papers
of Sept. 2, but obviously was sent out the day or evening
before. Look at a morning paper. You'll see the press as-
sociation and other dispatches carrying the dateline of the
86 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
If your story is released for afternoon newspapers, how-
ever, it carries the date of publication, as presumably it was
given out that same day. Check afternoon papers to observe
Some publicity men scorn to use a dateline at all, recog-
nizing that the editors may cross it out and use the story
as a local one, but it is safe to leave it in.
Feature stories, oddities, short paragraphs intended as
"filler," anything that might conceivably have originated in
the home office of the newspaper itself, carry no dateline.
Actually the use of datelines in dailies is nonsensical and
space-wasting, but journalists are tradition-wed, living in
the myth that the dateline makes news look timely. It is not
for the publicity man to reform them.
Occasionally a story from outside the newspaper's place
of publication, with no time element involved, still needs
the convention of identification of the place of the story's
origin. Simply start the text with it, giving no date, i.e.,
SUBHEADS AND SYMBOLS
The subhead, inserted between paragraphs of news text,
chiefly is used for aesthetic, not informational, reasons. The
blackface type in which it appears serves to break up the
monotony of grayish print. On a story occupying no more
than a page and a half of mimeographing, subheads are not
needed. Editors like short news stories better than long
ones, so it is a good rule to check your judgment whenever
your story wanders on longer than a page and a half.
Many stories do justify greater length. The use of the
subhead supplies you an opportunity to do a really good
News Releases 87
editing job. Instead of arbitrarily inserting subheads every
three or four paragraphs, as lazy copy handlers do, marshal
your facts so that the arrangement of subheads is logical,
each carrying out its true function, beyond the aesthetic
one, and becoming what its name implies, a minor headline
over a definite section of the story.
You will find this small attention to mechanics will in-
fluence you to compose tighter, shorter sentences and para-
graphs. Once engaged in this useful excercise, you may see
a way to tell all in the standard page and a half, to the bene-
fit of your chances of being published.
It is better not to end a page of typescript or mimeo-
graphed copy at the end of a paragraph, particularly in the
fast-moving news story. Break it up so that one or two lines
of the paragraph carry over onto the next page. That indi-
cates to the editor that there's more to come. Some publicity
men slug or mark each page with the word "more" at the
bottom, except for the final page, following an old newspaper
At the end of a news release write the following symbol:
The three x's stand for 30, the telegrapher's signal of for-
mer days, signifying the end. Sometimes the arabic numerals
30 are used, but the three x's are more common.
BEHIND THE RELEASE
Mechanical matters discussed above are important only
because they afford convenience. It is what's in the release
that counts for most. A professional presentation helps the
editor's attention to focus on content, but form without
substance won't get your releases published.
88 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Let's look behind our definition of a release as a physical
form. The word itself implies that the news given can be
released, let go, published to the world, that up to now this
information has been confidential but that at the time speci-
fied the editor is released from a tacit vow of confidence, and
is free to use the story.
All modern news work is based upon confidence. The great
of the world talk freely to reporters and editors and news-
casters, realizing that their words are perfectly guarded and
will not be given out— released— without permission. Confi-
dence is the cornerstone of all modern journalism. Without
it, a free press would be impossible in our day.
True, unethical practices are not completely unknown,
and violations of news-release dates have been known to
occur. In practically all instances such violations are due to
error. As a matter of good sense, a story important enough to
carry a release date should not be sent out far in advance
of that date. By expert timing, every story should be aimed
to reach the editor at the optimum moment— when he can
attend to it, when he is in need of it, and before the thou-
sands of distractions in his day's work will cause him to lay
it aside until too late for publication. This minimizes the
likelihood of complete loss of the story and also of getting it
used on the wrong day.
TELL A GOOD STORY
Some publicity people, wearied of seeing their copy re-
written, embrace the idea that the way they express the news
is not important, since the copy editor will change it anyway.
This is a tempting but dangerous frame of mind. Every story
is different: that's what makes it a story. What makes it us-
News Releases 89
able is its presentation from a fresh viewpoint, a "slant" that
has an element of surprise. Most publicity material as it
comes to copy desks is woefully humdrum. Whether your
story heads for the wastebasket or the composing room will
depend mostly on the words you use in your first paragraph.
Say something interesting right at the start. Often this is
a difficulty impossible to surmount, but more often the editor,
droning through publicity copy, comes upon what might
make a good story in the middle or toward the end, instead of
at the beginning. The writer of such a story has forced him
either to have it rewritten or to throw it away, and the second
of these alternatives is the easier.
A speech or a scientific report or paper may be sent out
as it was first prepared, or it may be in outline form, a mere
skeleton. But with such text or outline there should go a
brief, terse, brightly written news release. In the first sen-
tence should lurk a "news hook," so engaging that the editor
is interested— because he knows his readers will be, too. This
need not be the most significant detail, or the one of most
import to your company, but it should be the one that will
interest most people.
How can you find it? A simple rule is to seek some emo-
tional content, or some facet of the story that will stimulate
emotion. Wonder, anticipation, terror, comedy, anything
that makes the reader feel, is of value here. Let what edi-
tors call "think stuff" come in later paragraphs, but try to
get emotional content into the start. This does not mean
straining for effect, or forcing an emotion false to the facts
of your story, but almost every human act has some emotion
stirrer in it, if only you can discover and release it.
A routine statement:
90 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Jonas Geoffreyson was elected executive vice president of the
Spizzerink Manufacturing Company at a meeting of the board
of directors here today. He has been with the company for over
An emotion-arousing recast, purposely exaggerated:
Jonas Geoffreyson punched the time clock at the Spizzerink
Manufacturing Company plant at 8:29 this morning, for the
5,680th time. On the first occasion he was a new office boy in the
delivery department. Today he punched in as executive vice
president, following his election to that office by the board of
directors at their annual meeting.
It is not recommended that you try to fit your executive
vice president into the mythical Mr. Geoffreyson's shoes,
but that you find something about your man whom you want
to publicize that will attract the editorial eye.
VARIANTS OF THE RELEASE
Because of competition for news space and radio time on
heavy news days, a perfectly sound release occasionally will
miss its target through no fault of its creator. This need not
mean its finish. Often a story is good for a second run a little
later on. One publicity man whose release got crowded out
everywhere— it was three pages, too long for attention on a
big news day— wrote a letter to four business writers on im-
portant dailies, his principal targets. In the letter he incor-
porated all the information in the release. Three of the
editors used it in considerable space, though the first time
round it had been lost in the shuffle. This is not an approach
to be overdone, but no company story worth the time and
effort of preparation should be permitted to die because of
the publicity man's faint heart.
News Releases 91
Some publicity offices print up their material in an imi-
tation of newspaper style, headlines and all, sending out a
newspaper-size page containing many stories and several
pictures. This is a clipsheet, time-honored, a second-best
way of releasing material, and suitable for the oddity and
the feature rather than the story of immediate and com-
pelling interest. In the fashion, food, garden, theatrical, and
motion-picture fields it is useful, though not as a rule for
heavy industry. Yet the National Association of Manufac-
turers receives a great bulk of publicity released through a
Widening out from the daily newspaper, the same ma-
terial that is released to the press can be presented in slightly
changed form to others, notably industrial and business mag-
azines. This involves considerable writing time, particularly
when many fields are open for the publicity. A compromise
is necessary. In stories dealing with personnel, acquisitions
and expansions, and other matters of routine company opera-
tion, the same release may be used for all. By rewriting only
the first paragraph, slanting the story a little nearer to the
special field, a greater acceptance often can be gained.
The "how to do it" story lends itself to this treatment. The
publicity man for a manufacturer of stainless steel first sent
a release on how to clean this material to household editors
of daily newspapers, where it was widely used. He rewrote
the first paragraph, for distribution to household editors of
magazines. Industrial magazines and dairy and other food
magazines used the story, applied to their fields by use of a
new lead paragraph. The Associated Press carried a picture.
Railway, soda-fountain, sheet-metal-working, aviation, and
interior-decoration magazines found the storv of interest.
92 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
If this publicity man had been content to send the same
words to the editors of all these publications, most of them
would have decided against it. By merely presenting new
first paragraphs he pointed out its direct interest to each.
THE PRESS CONFERENCE
When an important announcement is to be made, involv-
ing a live news topic, the press conference provides a quick
and expeditious way of getting the facts to a maximum num-
ber of outlets at once. Instead of taking the news to the edi-
tors and newscasters, they come to a designated place to
receive it. Presidential press conferences have become so
thoroughly rooted in present-day journalism that they have
been widely imitated by politicians, industrialists, and others.
The press conference, in which the businessman meets
newspaper and radio reporters face to face, has the great ad-
vantage of establishing personal relationships. A scientific
demonstration or a machine of any sort is far more interest-
ing once one has touched it, seen it, watched it work. And a
person is always more real when he has been seen and heard;
he becomes more than a name in print.
Three simple rules should guide the decision as to whether
a given story warrants a press conference :
1. Have a subject interesting enough to take up the time
of the busy reporters.
2. Have someone able to present it intelligibly to re-
3. Be prepared to take in your stride mistakes and mis-
interpretations that may be made as the result of the press
Let us suppose that you do have the subject and you do
News Releases 93
have the person— and look back for a moment to the business
organization itself. There must be some affinity between
person and subject. The chairman of the board should usually
not talk about a new scientific development, unless he
chances to be the best scientist in the company. The man
who did the work, or the head of the research department,
is preferable. Nor should the scientist be asked to leave his
usual role to discuss top-management policies.
At times a high official of a company may desire a press
conference. This may pose a difficult problem, if in the pub-
licity man's judgment such a conference is not warranted.
There is a simple expedient for getting around this problem,
if not solving it. Telephone to half a dozen of the editors
who covered the last press conference held by your com-
pany and ask whether they are interested in covering an-
other one. This will furnish a basis of sound judgment.
Now let us suppose that you have decided to go ahead and
hold the press conference. After you have decided who is to
be interviewed and what he is to talk about, you have the
further planning problems of where and when.
The place is of great importance. Company headquarters
of the company's plant are ideal, provided they are located
near enough to the editors' offices so that they won't have to
waste a great deal of time in travel.
A parlor in a mid-town hotel in one of the large cities is
another good place, or an exclusive club may be appropriate.
Bear in mind that some clubs do not admit women, even
reporters. In all other ways, women reporters are on equal
footing with men. They do not expect special attention.
As to when to hold the press conference, do not rush it,
do not be hasty. City editors and other editors should be
94 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
given time to assign a staff member capable of handling the
occasion. To find out the best time for a particular press
conference, ask the editors for advice. The press associations
often prefer 11 a.m. rather than twelve or one o'clock, be-
cause it enables reporters to cover the story, return to their
offices, and write it.
The industrial magazines, on the other hand, sometimes
prefer the lunch hour. They have an opportunity to finger
after a luncheon conference and ask questions which the
daily-newspaper reporters could not do. So the nature of the
conference, the subject, and the man, often govern the time
to be selected.
Check the details of your press-conference planning in
advance. Make sure none of the following steps are neg-
1. Write a release on the conference subject and clear it
with the appropriate company people. Have mimeographed
copies on hand, to be distributed at the end of the con-
2. Prepare a longer background memorandum on the
subject if it may be needed, and get clearances in advance.
3. Prepare advance photographs when appropriate.
4. Send written invitations. Follow up with telephone calls
on the day of the press conference. Keep a check on reporters
who attend. Send release material to those who do not.
5. Specify precise time and place. If in a hotel or other
public building, give the room number.
6. Remind company participants well in advance that
their presence is expected.
7. Confer with the speaker on what he is to say. Write
out a brief memo for him to read or refer to at the start.
News Releases 95
8. Serve cocktails or luncheon when they fit in, but do not
stage a drinking party.
9. During the conference, be prepared with two or three
stimulating questions, in case no reporter asks them. This
often starts the ball rolling.
10. Introduce every reporter who attends to the spokes-
man in person. Do not be content with a mass introduction.
chapter 8 Feature Articles
In the feature article the publicity man must do more than
present an expanded press release. Whether intended for
daily newspaper (up to 700 words), Sunday supplement
(500 to 1,000 words), weekly or monthly magazine (up to
3,000 words), the feature possesses a dimension lacking in
the quickly produced and quickly grasped news release. It
has depth. To the extent that it penetrates, leaving a lasting
impression on the reader's mind, it is successful.
Too often, length alone is considered the criterion. Choice
of subject, of writer, of treatment, and of medium of publica-
tion assumes more importance than in handling news. To
recognize this principle and to apply it to every case may be
The difference between a spot-news story and a full-length
feature article, acceptable for publication in a general, busi-
ness, or technical magazine or a newspaper's feature section,
is frequently neglected in practice. This neglect is reflected
in hundreds of superficial articles submitted to editors. Some-
times the subject or the reputation of a by-line author is so
important that the editor compromises, but he much prefers
submission of a professionally written article, slanted to his
Just because material is sent to a magazine rather than a
Feature Articles 97
newspaper does not take it out of the release class and put
it into the feature category. Those releases discussed in the
preceding chapter which can be sent to magazines in varied
fields by reworking the lead or introduction still are releases,
not feature articles in the way we mean the term.
Seldom is the feature article based on a single event. Sup-
pose your company holds an open-house day, inviting em-
ployees, community leaders, and customers to visit a plant
and learn about its operations. This is the basis for a press
release when the event occurs. The material could, it is true,
be made the subject for a feature article, but the article
would have more breadth as well as penetration if based on
two or three or half a dozen similar events. Then it might be
written up for a magazine by choosing one of several ap-
proaches and treatments. These titles suggest various ways
of handling the topic:
How to Conduct an Open House
Junior Watches Dad at Work
Customers See the Wheels Go Round
Safety Precautions for Your Open House
Industry Invites the Neighbors In
Diverse as these approaches are, they only hint at the
possibilities. The articles have more than a topic in common,
however. Each of them discusses the significance of one or
more aspects of the open-house day. Logical interpretation
calls for more than a single occasion, and that is why such
an article will be more acceptable if the factual basis is
broadened to include a number of examples. Here we go a
step farther than imparting information; we give the in-
formation meaning and significance.
98 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Any company activity of more than passing or novelty
interest is a fair topic for article treatment. Often the com-
plaint is heard from editors that a subject is "too light. " This
usually is due to the publicity man's attempt to expand a
release, to make more of a current happening than is justi-
fied. Immediate timeliness fades out in the feature article.
Frequently six months to a year elapse between first offer-
ing of a feature article and its publication. If the subject is
seasonal, it may be preferable to schedule the article when
the season rolls around again. Think of all the Christmas
features you have read. They are based on past Christmases.
Nothing could fall more flat than a Christmas feature in a
January issue of a magazine.
A simple rule: Ask yourself, "Will this topic be of superior
interest, will it still be a live topic, when the article appears
in print?" Sometimes writers and editors have to work fast,
to make sure a topic that is of superior interest doesn't get
cold before the penetrating article can appear. Space may
be held for last-minute copy; but the feature article, even
when this element of timeliness is important, remains a dis-
cussion and an interpretation, more than a news report.
Select your topic, make sure the needed information is
available and that an informed writer can be assigned to it,
before you begin to awaken editorial interest. It is painful
to get an acceptance of an idea, only to find you are not in
position to deliver what the editor wants.
TAILOR THE ARTICLE
A publicity man placed an article of high importance to
his company by going to a magazine office, discussing the
Feature Articles 99
topic with an editor, and then asking permission to look over
files of the magazine for the past two years. This unusual
request was not a ruse, but indicated a sincere desire to
tailor the article to the length, style, method of illustration,
and general treatment of that particular magazine. This is
what editors like, a willingness to conform to their specifica-
tions (see Chapter 4).
Beware of suggesting yourself as the author whose name
appears with the article, unless you are writing on your own
specialty. True, you have the chore of putting the words
down, for perhaps the majority of publicity features are writ-
ten by publicity men, either anonymously for the company
or under the by-line of a company man who is an authority
in his field. The man whose by-line is used is the author.
Writing an article, therefore, does not make you its author.
The literary ghost is a respectable assistant, his function rec-
ognized everywhere and frequently applauded, for he makes
possible many fine articles that otherwise never could be
published. Do not be misled by arty people who think this
calling demeans a writer. Actually, it presents great advan-
tages, for it enables one to explore many realms, to become
the confidant of thoughtful and important leaders, and to
develop one's powers of self-expression.
All the same, there is danger in doing all the writing for
company authors. This should be a joint enterprise whenever
possible. Several good devices enable the author to keep the
flavor of his own personality, ideas, and language, while de-
pending on the writer to prepare the final manuscript.
1. Get the author to write a first draft, with the clear
100 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
understanding that you will use your professional talents to
edit and perhaps rewrite it.
2. Interview the author, taking notes in order to keep as
many of his turns of expression as possible. Then write a
draft, and let him do the first editing and turn it back to
you for final preparation before submission to an editor.
3. A handy way to facilitate the writing is to take a tape
recorder along for the interviews. This yields the author's
actual words better than your note taking could do.
4. If the author has no time to spend in actual writing,
ask him to give you an outline of the points he wishes to
make, supplementing this with all the printed or written
material at hand— past speeches, memoranda, and reports—
that will be useful to you in writing.
5. If you are thoroughly familiar with the topic, you may
venture to write it up yourself, and receive only the author's
approval and such corrections as he may suggest. Curiously,
this is more likely to happen in top echelons than with the
specialists. For example, material on the company's history
may be accessible to you, while a new president would be
unfamiliar with it. Or if a trend is to be discussed, you may
do the digging out of facts from statistical, sales, production,
and other departments.
You may even present an interpretation in line with the
executive's thinking or feed him ideas that never would have
occurred to him. The more useful the publicity man makes
himself in thinking as well as writing for top management,
the more he will be valued. Never could a publicity man
have better opportunity to reveal hidden management abil-
ities than in first doing the thinking, then using the right
words to put into a superior's mouth. The article written by
Feature Articles 101
the publicity man, to be successful, should contrive to express
the personality of the executive, however. Friends— and those
who are not friendly— will be quick to detect false notes,
expressions the executive would never ordinarily use, or
fancy words not in his vocabulary.
To ghost a good article demands a thorough acquaintance
with the author, and calls for rare skill, comparable to that
of a first-rate actor, who sincerely and honestly transforms
himself for the moment into the character he portrays.
Danger lurks in making an attempt to do the whole job
for more than one top executive, at least until sufficient time
elapses for the writer to step completely out of one role and
into another. The article that could be signed by any one of
a half-dozen authors is a poor article.
Only rarely does a highly literate, thoughtful man such as
Clarence Randall of Inland Steel build a reputation as an
author in his own right at the same time he wins distinction
as a captain of industry. When this combination can be
achieved, the publicity man's life is made happy, for editors
seek his company spokesman out and the feature-article
problem goes into reverse: not how to place the material
but how to select the publications that will be of most bene-
fit. In these exceptional circumstances the author-manager
frequently develops into a spokesman for his entire industry,
not only his own company. If a spokesman is that good, it is
not likely that he will call upon his publicity man to do the
writing, though the latter may be asked to marshal facts
and round up background.
Though we speak here of a vara avis, the genus is on the
102 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
increase. Business leaders today have more formal education
as a class and wider sociological scope and tend less and less
to be the graduates of the school of hard knocks. Though
they may be less colorful, they are more articulate. Thus the
publicity man whose company spokesman exhibits writing
ability acquires an entirely new set of obligations: to use his
influence in persuading the spokesman of the value of his
own words in print, to win enough of his time for careful
preparation of manuscripts, and to encourage editors to re-
quest an article at a time and on a subject that will bring the
company most benefit.
Some editors prefer to assign a member of their own staffs
or a free-lance writer to do a feature article on a company.
Mass-circulation magazines such as The Readers Digest,
The Saturday Evening Post, and Colliers have "stables" of
writers with whose work they are familiar, and these include
specialists in business writing. So great is their need of good
material, however, that they also welcome well-done work
from free-lance writers of less reputation. The publicity man
in either case is responsible only for supplying information,
after an editor has become interested in a subject.
Often a feature article will deal with a general aspect of a
topic, as in the case of a story on the older worker, on exten-
sion of the life span, on the trend of industry to decentralize,
and the like. A publicity man may suggest these general
articles to editors, knowing that competing companies also
will be mentioned.
The publicity man for a smallish company needs to be on
the alert to learn when this type of feature article is in the
Feature Articles 103
making in the magazine shop, so that his company's con-
tribution may not be overlooked. Rich dividends in publicity
are to be garnered by small industries by being in touch
with the big-circulation magazines and keeping editors in-
formed about their companies. This may be done by putting
these editors on the mailing list for important press releases—
and not annoying them with minor ones— and by suggesting
feature-article possibilities from time to time.
Many business magazines also assign staff writers to do
feature articles, and welcome suggestions from publicists.
This is the simplest route to placement, as it assures the
editor the material will be handled to his liking. Precautions
must be taken, however, in setting up interviews for the
magazine man with management or plant personnel. Before
the interview, those concerned should be briefed as to the
subject to be covered; firm dates should be set, so that
everyone necessary to the story will be available at an ap-
pointed hour. By this prior explanation and arrangement,
one of the outside writers' chief annoyances can be avoided,
the assumption on the part of an uninformed company
official that information should not be divulged. Make sure
before the interview that clearance has been obtained for
the material that is to form the basis of the article.
SPEECH INTO ARTICLE
The technical paper, the scientific or engineering report,
the speech based on a phase of research or management,
all may lend themselves to reworking as feature articles.
This type of material may be processed by the publicity de-
partment, but much needless labor can be saved by prepar-
ing an outline and "shopping the market" before it is treated
104 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
as an article. Editors usually do not warm up to the idea of
reprinting a speech, except in an official technical journal.
The article may demand a new approach and even the
addition of new material, to make it suitable for publica-
As a rule there is a group of several magazines competing
for the attention of a particular audience. Long before a
word is put to paper, the publicity man should have in mind
the group in which he expects to find his particular target.
Standard Rate and Data Service publishes monthly lists of
newspapers and business and general magazines, an excel-
lent reference particularly useful in this instance because
the periodicals are catalogued according to the fields they
cover. The annual list published by N. W. Ayer and Son,
Inc., is differently arranged but contains much of the same
information. One or both are standard items for the pub-
With the target area in mind, an outline of the proposed
article should be prepared. This may be one to three type-
written pages in length. It should relate the topic, a suggested
title, name of the author, and suggested length. It is prefer-
able to use an outline rather than a completed script, for
submission to editors.
Unlike the press release, the feature article is for the ex-
clusive use of one publication in a field. A logical procedure
Feature Articles 105
is first to approach the editor of the magazine with largest
circulation or influence. This should be done in person where
possible. Take along the outline and as many good photo-
graphs and other illustrations as are available. Though edi-
tors do not want the completed manuscript at first, they do
want to see all the pictures. Many an article has been placed
because of outstanding illustrations. When the article is on
the border line, the visual presentation helps the editor to
decide in its favor.
A good title also helps the cause along. Newspaper editors,
as we have warned, must write their own headlines because
of type and column restrictions. Magazine editors welcome
Few editors will say right off that they will publish an
article seen in outline only. But they will express interest,
and that is the publicity man's clue to go ahead with the
idea. He should take care to warn the company author he
has selected that acceptance is tentative until the completed
article has been submitted, however.
There is no objection to showing a magazine editor out-
lines of three or four feature articles on the same visit. A
pioneer industrial-publicity man, Hendley Blackmon of West-
inghouse Electric, made up outlines on many topics, visited
editors, and helped them schedule their magazine content
many months ahead. His useful service to magazines as well
as to his company set an example now widely followed by
several of the largest corporations.
If the first editor visited exhibits no interest in your topic,
try it on the other magazines in the same field. If three or
four turn it down, recognize that no matter how much the
company would like to see the article in print, editorial
106 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
judgment has to be final. Put the article away until a more
timely approach suggests itself.
Each proposed article should be handled as a separate
project. A schedule should be prepared, giving the "target
date" for every step. There is no better way to brighten the
smile of welcome on an editor's face than past performance
of getting manuscripts to him on time. Your work project
schedule should contain the following dates:
1. Company approval of topic and author.
2. Delivery of outline by author.
3. Agreement by editor to consider article.
4. Discussion between editor and author if required.
5. Submission of finished and approved draft.
MERCHANDISING THE ARTICLE
When the article appears in print, its usefulness to the
company is only halfway done. There is an audience in the
particular field that either does not take this magazine,
failed to notice the article, or having skimmed through it
would keep it for reference if available. By the reprint, the
scope of readership can be multiplied. In addition, a reprint
from a recognized publication carries more prestige than
would the same message sent out as sales promotion by the
company. The reprint tells its recipient, "This company had
something to say of such import that this magazine pub-
lished it. Ergo, you had better not miss reading it."
Reprints sometimes are made by the magazine, through
arrangement by which the company pays the cost. Permis-
Feature Articles 107
sion will usually be given to the company to produce its
own reprint, of course with credit to the magazine and
observance of its copyright. Some of the larger general maga-
zines, however, will not permit reprints, for valid policy
chapter 9 Industrial Photography
The camera opens the door to a thousand publicity sources.
Good photographs win a welcome in every newspaper and
most magazine offices. Roughly a third of publicity stories
lend themselves to picture treatment. This is the best third,
the most dramatic and interesting, the most likely to stick
in the reader's mind.
Telling a story in pictures has the great advantage that
they simplify the message. It is not so liable to be misunder-
stood, garbled, or misinterpreted as if conveyed by words
SELECTION OF SUBJECTS
A successful photograph enables the person who sees it
to grasp its central idea in an instant. In fact, it forces him
to do so. He could skip paragraphs or even pages of text, but
the picture freezes his attention long enough to impart its
message, no matter how quickly he glances away.
From the publicity point of view, a good photograph is
one so simple as not to demand long study, and so interest-
ing as to invite reading the lines of type, called a caption,
that accompany the picture.
The newspaper or magazine editor who selects a few
photographs for publication from the many at his disposal
Industrial Photography 109
gives priority usually to those that evoke an emotion. This
is ideally accomplished by including an element of the
familiar and quickly recognized, and also an element of sur-
prise or apparent incongruity.
Two news pictures of World War II illustrate this point.
One, by Joseph Rosenthal of the Associated Press, showed
three United States Marines planting an American flag on a
hillock, under fire at Iwo Jima. The other, by Ivan Dmitri,
depicted a Sicilian mother during a bombing raid, cradling
a baby on her arm, while an older child stretched forth a
protecting hand to guard the infant. In both cases the ele-
ment recognized was human beings, displaying the ability
to forget self in desperate circumstances; and the surprise
element was the battle scene. In the Iwo Jima picture the
flag enhanced the sense of recognition.
Now to apply the same recognition-surprise principle to
pictures selected from publicity files:
Subject: A white cat and a black one. They are perched
on an appliance in a living room (recognition). One cat's
normally white coat has been blackened by the soot of a
Pittsburgh winter indoors. The other remains white because
an electrostatic air cleaner has been installed in the house
where it stayed ( surprise ) . This outstanding publicity photo-
graph was still being published ten years after its first ap-
Subject: A foot kicking a football (recognition). A deep
dent in the football twists it out of normal shape ( surprise ) .
Microsecond photography made it possible to demonstrate
what the eye cannot see.
Subject: A group of laboratory retorts, tubes, and similar
equipment (recognition). All are held in the palm of a man's
110 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
hand (surprise). They were miniatures used in minuscule
Subject: A large, expensively furnished executive office
(recognition). Seated at a desk is a twelve-year-old boy
(surprise). The picture symbolizes an industry's recognition
of Boy Day.
Note that none of these examples were freakish or in bad
taste. All had a purpose. None of the central ideas could
have been told as well in words alone.
Introduction of attractive children, pretty girls, and ani-
mals into advertising pictures is for the purpose of luring
attention to the advertised gadget by associating it with a
familiar and pleasant subject; or if it looks much like compet-
ing merchandise, the winsomeness of the model may over-
come the buyer's ennui. Stagy posing of this sort should be
used sparingly in publicity pictures. There is plenty of
opportunity to use good-looking people and pets where they
make sense in a picture, without straining for effect.
Sudden fortuity, bringing the element of surprise, should
stimulate thinking, but too often a publicity man is satisfied
with the obvious. An unusual snowfall decorated a Southern
city in white. The head of a company was asked to pose,
making a snow man. He declined, on the grounds that he
never had made one, it was not "in character," and out-of-
town shareholders would consider it a "press-agent stunt."
The publicity photographer thereupon sought a timely
picture that would have significance. Refusal by the top man
stimulated the cameraman to think, instead of being content
with the "cute" routine shot he had first proposed. A few
months previously, over-all views of the new air-conditioned
plant had failed to excite editors' interest. Now the photog-
Industrial Photography 111
rapher chose a snow-framed window, overhung with icicles.
He arranged lighting inside the building properly. Then he
posed an employee, in shirt sleeves, engaged in working at
a bench by the window (recognition). This view of a man
in comfort despite wintry weather outside (surprise) was
welcomed by editors.
To another photographer, assigned to an archaeological
project, a picture story seemed warranted when he observed
scientists and crew toiling through drifted snow. Editors
turned it down, because to them it was no more interesting
than if the men had been ordinary ditchdiggers, who often
work in bad weather without praise. This forced the photog-
rapher to think. He added a surprise element— an archaeol-
ogist using a mine detector to seek three-hundred-year-old
artifacts buried beneath snowdrifts and earth. This added
element brought wide circulation for the picture.
Most pictures are immeasurably helped by including a
human subject. The size of a gigantic press was emphasized
by placing a man alongside. This had the added value of
showing scale, enabling the reader to grasp the idea of big-
ness instantly. A book or pamphlet is much more interesting
if a hand is holding it and shadow treatment is properly
given. People are always to be preferred over things as sub-
jects, but the publicity picture often is required to depict a
product or process. When this is true, the person or persons
in the picture must belong there.
Arrangement of objects and suggestive lighting sometimes
build an effect of beauty or the unusual, without a human
subject. A pattern of rows of small parts, with careful atten-
tion paid to light and shadow, is more dramatic than a view
of only one mechanical object. Fabric or other textural back-
112 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
grounds can step up aesthetic appeal. The pattern picture
calls for the expert eye of the photographer, however. The
publicity man who works with him should suggest, but leave
to the professional the technical and artistic arrangement.
WORKING WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS
Fortunate the publicity man who falls into the hands of an
experienced news photographer. Do's and don't's of his
trade have been assimilated so that he does the right thing
automatically. He is a good teacher, to be respected on such
matters as composition, lighting, and editorial appeal. Many
industrial plants employ their own photographers, some of
whom have not done news work. They too are competent
craftsmen, but it is important to remember that the bulk of
their work is for engineering and record purposes, and thus
their usual photographic objectives are far different from
those of publicity.
A piece of machinery, no matter how glamorous to its
makers, is still just a piece of machinery to outside editors,
until imagination has enveloped it. Then it may be given a
universal appeal. The plant manager and the sales manager
want the company's name plate on the machinery polished
up so that it can be read in the picture. The publicity man
has to shun such labeling, in the interest of better and more
dramatic aspects of the apparatus. The detail usually un-
observed, the oddity, the familiar seen from a surprise angle,
lend strength. Whether the reader can see at a glance just
how the machine works is not always the most important
point in publicity, though it well may be in photographs
destined for industrial magazines, and almost always is in
the sales-promotional, engineering, and other photographic
Industrial Photography 113
work on which the plant cameraman may spend most of his
An imaginative publicity photographer was assigned to a
series depicting the various operations in a Pittsburgh mill.
He came up with one set of pictures of— just machinery. On
the same visit, he took his own series, likening various pieces
of equipment to musical instruments— pneumatic tubes be-
came organ pipes, an arrangement of cables was a viola, a
boring mill the turntable of a phonograph, a giant air vent a
tuba, etc. Under the title "A Symphony of Industry,"
photographer Charles Nelson produced a historic full page
of pictures, placed with a New York picture syndicate.
When a photographer shows talent in finding the unusual,
the wise publicity man lets him go his own gait. In such a
situation, he recognizes that the photographer knows pub-
licity. As a corollary, the publicity man should know some-
thing about photography, too, in order to direct it intelli-
gently. He need not be a photographer, but he should be
capable of operating a camera in emergency. This demands
study and practice. It equips him for one of his most impor-
tant duties, that of giving the photographer specific and not
vague instruction as to subject, treatment, the reason for
taking the picture, and its possible markets. The more the
photographer knows about the destined use of the picture,
the better work he will turn out, yet too often there is re-
luctance to equip him with this helpful background.
Possession of a small camera with an f/3.5 (or better) lens
and flash attachment has two invaluable uses.
First, on visits to unfamiliar places, a picture record won-
derfully freshens up the memory when one sits down to
write the stories one has collected.
114 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Second, the fact that pictures are being taken, even casual
snapshots, intensifies the interest of those encountered. Test
trips taken with and without the camera have demonstrated
that people are markedly easier to interview, take more
trouble to explain, and exhibit more pride in accomplish-
ment when a camera is there than when it isn't. This fact,
proved empirically, might well be the subject of a learned
psychological dissertation. For present purposes, it is worth
applying. (Warning: Cameras cannot be taken without offi-
cial authorization into plants manufacturing classified mili-
Choice of type of camera, grade of film, placement of light-
ing, all demand technical photographic training. Since most
publicity people can't be expected to double as photog-
raphers under ordinary circumstances, it is better to leave
such matters to the skillful and qualified cameraman. No
matter how gifted an amateur photographer you may be, do
not tread on the professional's toes by overdoing directions.
Do not get in his hair by use of technical terms such as
parallax, focal length, and depth of field. However, look to
the five following details yourself when possible:
1. Be wary of the "horizontal" picture, i.e., wider than it
is high. For mechanical reasons, the "vertical" shot is usually
preferred for publication. Even in over-all pictures of plant
exteriors or interiors, come as near to the square or the ver-
tical oblong as possible. Frequently the shape of the final
picture can be determined by cropping. To crop a photo-
graph, take a ruler and a china-marking (grease) pencil. On
the face of the glossy print, outline the area wanted. Then
get new prints enlarged to standard size, showing only the
part you want. Skill in cropping comes with practice. Do not
Industrial Photography 115
leave it up to the photographer or the editor to whom the
picture is submitted. Either could do it, but it makes more
work, and the publicity man should know exactly what he
wants shown and what emphasized. As a rule of thumb, the
smaller the area taken in by the final print, permitting a close-
up image, the more acceptable the picture will be to editors.
2. "Police" the location. Take away the cocktail glasses on
the table in front of company executives. Ask the machine
operator to put on a clean shirt without a tear in it. Let
girl models primp before shooting; it improves their morale
and does no harm. Get grease and dirt wiped off machinery
and the faces, hands, and forearms of male operators. Get
litter removed. Even get a window washed or a section of
wall painted if they are dingy. Ask the model in a factory
picture to throw away the cigar or cigarette. An old-timer,
pipe in mouth, may provide a good character shot, but
cigars and cigarettes indicate lack of concentration on the
job. As a final precaution, make sure all safety appliances
are properly in use. Do not remove a shield or other pro-
tective device to get a better picture.
3. Publicity pictures require much better technical quality,
more attention to good lighting, to bringing out a dramatic
emphasis on one part of a scene, than do run-of-mill indus-
trial pictures. On the other hand, do not stray into the
advertising-picture and sales-promotion-picture traps. A large
sign with the name of the company too prominent may spoil
the chances of publication. The professional glamour-girl
model looks out of place in a factory shot, even if dressed
in blue jeans. By depending on indigenous pulchritude you
not only get a more natural picture, but please a whole
group of workers, part of your public.
116 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
4. Except when you want the effect of spectators, do not
show a row of the backs of people's heads in the foreground.
A three-quarters view of a face is usually the most interesting.
When it comes to getting models to relax and act naturally,
the photographer is a master; don't interfere. Just stand there
and hold the extra flash bulb if requested, and leave most of
the posing to him. Simply be sure he gets faces, not backs
5. Editors will bless you if you never submit a picture
showing people shaking hands. The handshake is the curse
of news photography. It is resorted to solely because of lack
of imagination. Pose subjects looking at something, pointing,
hugging, kissing, anything but shaking hands. Editors grow
bitter about this. They are forced into using so many hand-
shake pictures in the course of normal events that when one
comes in from a publicity man their first and often final
impulse is to toss it aside.
HIRING PHOTO SERVICE
The company employee who is an amateur photographer
is to be encouraged only to enter snapshot contests. An
occasional volunteer picture may be usable in an employee
publication, and in emergency for other purposes. To the
publicity man operating on a small budget, it may be allur-
ing to save the fees of the professional by merely paying for
the amateur's supplies. This is false economy, for soon the
amateur will consider himself a semi-pro, and find need for
exposure meter, enlarger and other darkroom equipment, a
better camera, and a hundred and one appurtenances he
sees advertised. On the day he is sorely needed he will be
tied up on his regular job. Better, therefore, to repress his
Industrial Photography 117
soaring ambition right from the start, even if he is the presi-
For company field projects in out-of-the-way places, an
employee may be the only recourse. Even so, there is prob-
ably a commercial photographer in a nearby town who will
give more dependable service and get better results, at an
extremely modest cost.
In the distant plant city or other location where the pub-
licity man cannot supervise directly, arrangements for cover-
age of company pictures should be made well in advance
when expedient. If there is a choice between the staff photog-
rapher of a newspaper and the proprietor of a local photo-
graphic studio, the former is usually preferable, for publicity
pictures. It is likely that the studio man gets more regular
company business, for engineering and record purposes, but
the news cameraman is more likely to produce lively pictures
that editors will want, as this is the kind he is shooting
The commercial departments of the national picture agen-
cies depend on correspondent-photographers in most cities
the country over. By dealing with one of these agencies the
publicity man is assured of work that meets adequate stand-
ards. This arrangement also saves the detail work involved
in instructing photographers at long range. It is more prac-
tical to explain to the agency's representative in person,
following up with written instructions.
Some photographers in the larger cities make a specialty
of industrial publicity work. Their charge is about the same
as that of the agencies— approximately $150 a day for camera
crew and supplies, plus travel expenses. For a single pub-
licity news assignment, the cost runs from $15 to $25, for
118 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
three different pictures. Extra prints cost from 50 cents to
one dollar each, sometimes less in large quantities.
The most satisfactory arrangement, when the company
does not have its own photographic staff, is to hire one
agency regularly. The representative and cameramen of the
agency acquire familiarity with the company's needs and
ways of doing things, and not infrequently come up with
picture ideas that otherwise would have been overlooked.
When regular work is anticipated, in fairly large volume,
costs per assignment go down slightly.
Another advantage is that the large picture agencies pos-
sess mechanical facilities for processing hundreds of prints
overnight if needed, for multityping and attaching captions
and company identification, and for delivery to editors.
The three largest, United Press, Press Association, and Inter-
national Newspictures, also rent wirephoto facilities to
client companies for instantaneous transmittal of news
The publicity man should accompany the hired photog-
rapher on assignment whenever possible. A written-out
"shooting script," or list of the pictures wanted, is a con-
venience; but competent photographers should always be
given leeway to pick up shots not planned, which their
trained eyes see as possibilities as they go about their
Fake photo agencies reap a large harvest in useless picture
taking, in large cities. Typically, a company executive whose
name has appeared in the newspapers will receive a phone
call, asking permission to send a photographer around, in
Industrial Photography 119
order to supply the demand of editors for the gentleman's
picture. No obligation, of course. Unless an alert publicity
man blocks the play, the phony-photo-agency photographer
arrives with camera and lights, takes a dozen portrait pic-
tures, and returns a few days later with proofs— plus a stag-
The executive has been placed in an embarrassing position,
for he will be joshed over his vanity if the secret comes out.
Therefore he usually pays and hopes nobody will be the
wiser. Obviously no editors have really asked for the pic-
tures, and none receive them. If the executive is courageous,
however, he will refuse any payment and have the fake
photographer escorted from the premises. Thereafter he will
establish what he should have had at the start— an ironclad
rule that all photographic salesmen be referred immediately
to the publicity department.
Many legitimate studios specialize in executive portraits.
They do not make false statements to obtain sittings, but
welcome an opportunity to deal through proper publicity
channels. They supply glossy prints for publicity use at com-
petitive prices and being good businessmen obtain profitable
prices for fancy enlargements ordered by the executive for
his personal use. To draw the line between the honest and
dishonest photographic salesmen, only one phrase need be
uttered: "See our publicity man." The legitimate representa-
tive will head for the publicity office, the fake one for the
Granted a universal appeal based on recognition-surprise
elements, technical excellence, and good timing, what chance
120 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
has a publicity picture of getting published? The fact that so
many are used gives the best answer. They appear in every-
thing from dining-car menus to twenty-four-volume encyclo-
pedias, by the thousands a year. They compete against pic-
tures from newspaper and magazine staffs, syndicates,
agencies, and commercial and free-lance photographers, yet
hold their own. Actually, the quality of journalistic pho-
tography has been vastly improved by this competition.
Analysis of one edition of a thirty-six-page standard-size New
York daily newspaper reveals the following score :
Business ( products ) 7
Business ( people ) 6
Of these only eleven (sports, crime, and political) had
probably not been supplied or suggested by a publicity
worker, and there is doubt that all the sports pictures origi-
nated in the newspaper staff or the picture syndicates that
serve it. A check of all New York daily and Sunday news-
papers for one week showed about 40 per cent publicity
pictures. Informed study of your own favorite newspaper will
reveal similar dependence on cooperation from outside. And
analvses of magazines indicate the same trend.
Industrial Photography 121
The fiction that staff -produced pictures are somehow more
expertly conceived and executed than those from publicity
sources is, however, sedulously cultivated, especially by pic-
ture magazines. Though about 75 per cent of picture ideas
for these magazines come from publicity people, at times
a staff photographer is sent out to duplicate a picture or a
series submitted. The result is just as likely to be inferior as
to be superior. The business reason advanced for this waste-
ful procedure is twofold: the picture magazine can blandly
point to its own photographer's name as creator of its picture,
and the industrial or other publicity source can be deprived
of credit if desired. Whether there is a sound moral basis
is a matter of opinion.
One highfalutin industrial magazine accepted a picture-
story idea, requested a day's use of special apparatus which
was trucked 90 miles for the occasion— and then omitted all
identification of the company which had expended consider-
able courtesy, time, and money on the picture. The excuse
proffered was that editorial ethics did not permit giving
"free" space to the cooperating company.
This instance, fortunately far from typical, is cited to
emphasize that irresponsibility, so long laid at the door of
the "press agent," and not without reason, also manages to
creep into editorial offices. The honest publicity worker is
at a disadvantage, for he has little recourse, and on the next
occasion must discharge his own obligation just as faith-
fully as ever.
Forewarned with this knowledge, however, the publicity
worker does have an opportunity to choose which publica-
tions shall receive his most attractive pictures and picture-
story ideas. So popular have business photographs become in
122 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
all journalistic media that a good one is bound to find an
At the height of editorial scorn for the cooperation of
industry, one magazine sent camera crews, assisted by mili-
tary personnel under "training," to forty-two industrial plants
where military apparatus was in the making, in a single day.
Forty-one of the publicity departments involved were disap-
pointed to discover that only one picture of the thousand or
more taken was used. In this case the magazine was regarded
as having used the crowds assembled in forty-two large
plants as a means of promoting its circulation. It is doubt-
ful that such a performance could be repeated now, because
the publicity worker is advancing toward a professional
status, and protective measures against this sort of exploita-
tion can be employed.
TRASH INTO TREASURE
When executive offices of a certain company were being
moved, in a Wall Street building, a newly hired publicity
helper was drafted to carry some of the framed pictures of
plants and apparatus. Seeing one that had been discarded,
he took the picture from its frame, visited the office of a
book publisher, and returned triumphant. He had suspected
that this textbook house might have need of an industrial
picture which need not be up-to-the-minute. In the fine-
quality oversize print, the book editor saw a symbol of the
strength of industry, and he used the picture effectively as
Acknowledging a certain element of luck in this particular
instance, it does illustrate a much more impressive factor-
enterprise in presenting pictures to editors. For an excep-
Industrial Photography 123
tional series, prints 11 by 17 inches, without margins, may
appropriately be shown to Sunday-supplement, magazine,
and book editors, but such deliveries always should be made
Diligence in keeping track of old pictures yields a mine
of hidden treasures. A good picture need not die with today's
newspaper. Its secondary uses, over months or even years,
more than justify the trouble involved in keeping on hand
a minimum of three prints of every picture sent out and of
engaging in a periodic treasure hunt through the files.
To avoid confusion, every print in the files should be date-
stamped lightly on the back, and each should have attached
a copy of the original caption. For later uses, the caption will
usually be rewritten, and it would be folly to try to place an
old picture under the guise of newness. Such practices have
a nasty way of boomeranging, for almost inevitably some-
body connected with the periodical or book publisher will
possess an uncanny memory; the date of the picture will not
spoil its chances of use, but deception will do so.
Within the company, publicity pictures from former years
may prove invaluable, if correctly dated and classified, and
captioned with accurate information. Patent and other law-
suits may be won by such evidence; company histories may
be built upon old picture files; feature articles in companv
and outside magazines can be fattened up. Equally valuable,
the files serve as a record, when the time comes to make
a report of publicity activities.
Widening fields beckon for full-color publicity pictures.
Sunday supplements and general and women's magazines
124 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
represent the principal market; but many magazines of small
or special circulation use color for covers, and book pub-
lishers are using them more lavishly than in the past. Techni-
cal advancements in films and papers now make it possible
to submit colored prints as well as transparencies. In most
cases industrial color pictures should be made by arrange-
ment with a publication interested in using them. However,
some forward-thinking publicity departments equip camera-
men with an extra camera containing color film, so that when
the practice of serendipity leads them to an outstanding op-
portunity they will be ready to seize it.
Special lighting and other problems in color photography
are within the ken of any professional cameraman. As the
pictures are far more expensive than black-and-white, en-
thusiasm should not lead to extravagant use. As yet the color
picture is exceptional. A steel company profited by this fac-
tor, in letting editors of the principal national magazines
know that it had built up a file of color pictures from which
selections could be made. All publications face occasional
emergencies, and are glad to learn of such a place, where
they may turn when color treatment is required and fresh-
ness of subject demanded.
A sketch may be more interesting and revealing than a
photograph— e.g., a diagram of a military airplane. Maps are
welcome, when appropriate, as are architects' renderings of
the fagades of proposed buildings. Newspaper editors prefer
line drawings, as simple as possible, or wash drawings that
simulate photographs. Sketches of persons and events must
be of exceptional quality to compete with the camera. The
Industrial Photography 125
colored sketch or painting is in the same category as the color
photograph— used infrequently but to great effect.
In serving weekly and small daily newspapers, cost can
be cut by offering matrices, thin cardboard or plastic images
of a photograph, made from an engraver's plate. The mat, as
editors call it, may include type as well as picture. When a
clipsheet containing many short items is sent out, editors
are usually notified that mats of the illustrations used are
available on request.
An electro is a metal plate, usually mounted on wood. It
can be set into a type form in a small newspaper office, for
direct printing or making a stereotype plate of a page. Be-
cause of its weight, shipping costs are high. Most editors
will accept mats instead of electros. For magazines printed
on coated paper, an electro made from a copper engraving is
sometimes requested, to save editorial cost. Unless the size
makes for prohibitive expense, it is advisable to ask the
editor to have a copperplate made instead; the company
which will get the publicity usually bears this cost, by ar-
rangement, but the price always should be stated in advance.
When all four plates from a color reproduction are needed
for reprinting in a publication, electros should be made, in-
spected, and shipped, in order to ensure proper quality. The
intended use is likely to be for the cover of a small magazine,
and assurance should be had beforehand that the company
from which the plates originated will be credited with the
MECHANICS OF SUBMISSION
Publicity pictures normally should be printed on glossy
paper, size 8 by 10 inches ( 5 by 7 is sometimes acceptable ) .
126 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Each print should be numbered on the back, for ready identi-
fication should it be spoiled and another needed quickly.
The company name also should be lightly stamped on the
back of the picture.
The caption should not be written or typed on the back
of the picture, but on a separate strip of paper, lightly
fastened with rubber cement either to the back or along the
bottom edge, where it may be folded over. On the caption
strip the same number should appear as on the print itself.
An ideal caption would be one line of typing. That would
indicate a picture so good it told its own story. Seldom is
this possible, however. Captions no longer are written in
telegraphese, with articles and other short words omitted,
but as nearly as possible in such clear, concise language as
will demand no editing or cutting.
Occasionally an important story is "carried" by a picture
and a long caption, which may run up to 150 words. Or-
dinarily a 50-word caption should suffice. When a series of
pictures on related phases of one subject is submitted, one
or two lines under each picture are enough; an additional
general description, which may be up to a full page of typed
information, accompanies the series.
The glossy surface of the print is brittle. Any break or
crack may ruin it for reproduction; hence no scribbling or
typing on the back. For the same reason, great care should
be exercised to see that a sheet of stiff corrugated cardboard,
cut to size, is inserted in the envelope with the print or
prints. This applies whether the package is to be mailed or
delivered by hand.
chapter 10 Television and Radio
Even in today's newspaper, the printed word is a record of
history. An event it describes may have happened but an
hour ago, but still it belongs to the past. Radio and television,
by contrast, convey the present moment, and thus impart
a sense of urgency lacking in other means of mass communi-
Why are we more excited when a voice tells us something
over the air than when we read the same facts in the eve-
ning paper? Perhaps we have already read the news ac-
counts before we tuned in— but when a first-rate commenta-
tor repeats them, we pay attention, hanging on his words
because they seem important.
There are two reasons for this difference. First, the man
with the voice seems to be excited over the news himself,
and that is contagious. We receive a projection of his emo-
tion, and share it. The second and more important reason
why radio and television impart a feeling of urgency is that
the message is ephemeral. Tune in a split second too late,
and you have missed part of it. These words must be caught
the instant they are said, or be lost forever. This impels us
to pay much closer heed than when the same words are be-
fore us in printed matter that could be laid aside and picked
up again at will.
128 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Radio-television is a fast-moving vehicle, built on time,
on the fleeting moment, and for that reason has terrific im-
pact on its audience. The size of this audience outruns any-
thing in previous experience. No printed publication could
possibly reach so many people, and affect them with such
emotional impact, as a network program of major impor-
MAKING RADIO-TV CONTACTS
Management people in radio and television offices are
more experienced in and therefore more adept at publicizing
their own stations or networks than are their opposite num-
bers in newspaper or magazine offices. Thus they have a
friendly attitude toward outside publicity workers. All sta-
tions have press-publicity departments of their own.
There is no such dividing line between commercial and
creative departments as is to be found between advertising
and editorial workers on printed publications. Whether the
infiltration of advertising into the entertainment part of a
program is to be condemned, condoned, or cheered, it has
gained such public acceptance that it is more likely to grow
than decline. The same likable people— they must be likable
to retain their audiences— sometimes tell the glories of a new
kind of suds and at other times play comic or tragic parts
in make-believe. Nobody seems to mind much.
All this makes for the same air of informality as exists be-
hind the scenes in a theater. It contrasts with the increasing
decorum of newspaper and magazine offices. The reason it
is of interest to the publicity man with an idea is that he can
be sure of a gracious reception, without hauteur or patron-
age. In this always somewhat playful realm of electronic
Television and Radio 129
magic, he need not stand in a corner, hat in hand, but may
present his ideas boldly and without apology and if they have
merit may expect eager cooperation.
The magic casement does have a way, however, of closing
in the face of the long-winded bore, of the publicity man
who came to ask for an idea instead of to offer one, and of
him who too hastily invites all hands to join him at the bar,
in the hope of slipping in a "plug" for a client. Radio-TV
people value time, the precious commodity they sell, above
all else, and the time waster soon finds this out to his dismay.
While visitors are courteously received, a telephone call in-
stead often will do as well, after acquaintance has been
Some ways to save time in negotiating with radio-TV
1. Before you visit any radio or television station, listen
to and look at programs emanating therefrom, as often as
you can, for at least a week. It is insulting to show complete
unfamiliarity with programs, particularly those originating
in that station.
2. Write out your proposal and send it in advance by
mail or messenger. Follow up with a personal visit. If the
idea is turned down on the grounds of lack of entertainment
value, try it at another station. If it is dismissed because the
company or person concerned is not well enough known to
rate the attention asked, try again, on a less important pro-
3. On arrival at the station, have in readiness a typed-out
description of just what you want. This may supplement the
advance request. By writing it out, you are forced to examine
the idea closely. Though many bright ideas for radio-TV do
130 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
come out in chat and conversation, that is not the way to
4. Take no for an answer. Be prepared with an alternate
idea in case the first one doesn't click.
5. When your mission has been accomplished, depart. Un-
less specifically requested, do not make the rounds of the
studios, except on a guided tour.
6. Follow up your visit with a budget of new ideas, whether
or not your first suggestion was accepted. Test every idea
rigidly, however, before you submit it. Do not return with
an idea that was refused, for at least six weeks.
7. After your first getting-acquainted visit, spend an entire
evening listening to or viewing all the programs of the sta-
tion you were in. You will find new interest, and may now
see reasons for some of the reactions you received. Note
how your own attitude toward the program has changed,
compared to when you watched and listened before the visit.
WRITING FOR THE EAR
Straight news announcements, such as are carried on press-
association wires to newspapers, also go to radio and tele-
vision stations. The copy is specially selected and rewritten
for the ear and travels on leased wires. Network and local
announcers may again change the wording, to fit the story
into the time limits of a broadcast. If the same news item is
repeated every hour at a given station, as happens often, it
may be rewritten every hour, to give a sound of freshness
to every broadcast or telecast.
Unless there is some reason for special radio or television
use of this daily-news material, the publicity man need not
attempt rewriting for the ear. On many occasions, however,
Television and Radio 131
he is likely to be asked to furnish a complete script and will
be expected to follow the conventions of the spoken lan-
guage. Attention to half a dozen basic devices makes this
task fairly simple:
Introduce the subject in a conversational way, as if you
were speaking to one person, not "the great unseen audi-
ence." Watch newscasters on television, see how they impart
an air of relaxed chattiness. On radio, delivery is likely to
be more staccato, but the use of conversational language
is equally important.
Say "He won't," rather than "He will not." Prefer "He's
going to fly" to "The trip will be made via airplane," "He
said he'll be back on the job by Friday" to "Plans call for
the return of the Secretary to his official duties at his desk
in the State Department on Friday."
A trick word may throw the announcer for a loss. If it
is really needed, use it, but write out the phonetic spelling
in parentheses after the word, e.g., beneficiation (ben-ee-
fish-ee-ay-shun ) . Avoid long, balanced sentences, and short,
jerky sentences. Write for the ear, the way you talk.
The letter 5 is not the only sibilant. Try saying "exacerba-
tions" through a microphone; then go through copy and
eliminate most hissing sounds.
132 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
If your company's profit after taxes was $4,105,683, just
say "slightly over four million dollars." It is easier on the
listener, and actually sticks better in his memory.
By trimming out "lazy" words that fail to contribute to
thought, you make room for "picture" words that vivify your
story. Instead of "The party will be taken on a personally con-
ducted tour through the plant by Phineas T. Scotchgrass,
president of the company," say, "President Scotchgrass will
show the visitors how a rainbow of color is teased out of
ugly black coal tar in the three-acre plant." And instead of
"The incidence of respiratory diseases has been markedly
reduced among women employed in the company's offices
since the installation of the bactericidal lamps last October,
according to an announcement by company officials," say,
"Only three girls lost a day's work because of colds this
winter, compared to forty-two last year. That's what Jim
Likely, health supervisor, told us. Those new lamps kill
Pause for Breath
Punctuation in newspaper and magazine copy is held to
a minimum because commas and the like slow down reading
speed. The opposite practice is better for radio-TV. Dots and
dashes, underlinings for emphasis, even the moribund ex-
clamation point, flourish in scripts intended for the ear. Put
in punctuation wherever a breathing place is needed, and
lean toward liberality.
Television and Radio 133
The editor breaks up the news report, flowing in from
many sources, into little parcels, each with its headline. The
newspaper reader may pick and choose in this verbal cafe-
teria, skipping those stories in which he has no interest. But
the radio-TV newscaster has only one voice. By inflection he
accomplishes wonders, but when he must move from one
story to the next, he dare not be too abrupt, for the ear can't
skip as readily as the eye. He's a storyteller, to whom conti-
nuity is as important as content. The listener can't hark
back to words previously spoken, to tell whether he under-
stood correctly. The thread must not be broken, at least
until the "commercial" rudely interrupts.
The announcer therefore resorts to a "transition," a phrase
or sentence that gives a momentary sense of linking the items
together, though they may be totally unrelated. The transi-
tion is not emphasized, but should be present. For example:
". . . and that is how one community today is honoring a
leader of industry, Phineas Scotchgrass. . . . And speak-
ing of industry, here's a bulletin. Workers in the Coldheart
mine in West Virginia voted today to . . ."
Television and radio stations are naturally chary about
giving away time they could sell. Aside from newscasts the
publicity man finds many opportunities to provide interesting
features for sustaining programs as well as those sponsored
by other companies. The fact that his own company may be
paying for one or more programs, no matter how lavish, is of
little help in getting the company or products mentioned by
134 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
others. Every publicity appearance has to stand on its merits
as entertainment or public interest.
Sometimes the publicity budget should include paid-for
time. Such an occasion is a plant opening, community-day
tour, or similar activity. Though the local stations will nor-
mally report briefly the news of such events, much wider
and more effective publicity will be obtained by taking
from fifteen minutes to an hour for a "special event."
Under such circumstances, the publicity department writes
the "show," arranges sequences, takes responsibility for hav-
ing people on hand at the right moment, and may handle
newspaper publicity about the program, in cooperation with
the station's publicity staff.
Institutional programs of this sort, sponsored by industrial
companies, are on the increase. They are related to the pages
of institutional advertising sometimes taken in local news-
papers for special occasions. The opportunity here is to tell
the community of the company itself, rather than to stress
When a special event is of sufficient interest to warrant
the station's putting it on the air without charging for the
time, it is a well-established custom for the company con-
cerned to pay the extra expenses involved in running tele-
vision or radio cables into the plant, setting up facilities for
the station's engineers, etc. The cost is low.
Television and radio look for the novel and the exceptional.
Networks and local stations no more limit their coverage to
companies who pay for time than do newspapers to those
Television and Radio 135
who buy advertising. Many thousands of dollars are spent
by the stations each year on sustaining programs, presented
in the public interest, for which nobody pays them. These
usually have an educational or civic-service tone. Conven-
tions of scientists and annual meetings of national philan-
thropic groups are typical. In additions, forums and panel
appearances by amateur musical groups, interviews with
prominent visitors, lectures or demonstrations by authorities,
and amateur and hobby programs are wide open to industrial
WHAT CAN BE PUBLICIZED
Processes, products, personalities, and policies can be the
subjects of participation in programs sponsored by others. It
would be quite unusual for a single outside company to oc-
cupy all the broadcast or telecast time.
A small company actually has an opportunity to share the
air without cost out of proportion to its economic importance,
provided what it has to offer will entertain or instruct a large
public. For example, a day in the life of a tugboat captain
was condensed into seven fascinating minutes on a television
program sponsored by an automobile manufacturer. A paper-
bag manufacturer turned out a bag large enough to hold a
man, whose efforts to fight his way out made for hilarity on
a radio network. A pet hen whose owner had made her a
garment got the manufacturer of a sewing machine into the
spotlight at somebody else's expense. And a boy who traveled
from Honolulu to Atlantic City in order to enter a marbles-
championship contest was interviewed on the air at the many
stops carefully arranged by his sponsor's publicity man.
136 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
What the camera can show or sound effects impart about
most industrial processes lacks entertainment value until it
is hooked in with a personality. Thus a sequence of a steam
whistle playing Christmas carols would have been merely a
succession of screeches except for the "character" operator
who had learned to perform the feat. A nonglamorous salt
mine was made to seem inviting during a heat wave when
workers were shown wearing sweaters. Installations where
there is plenty of sound and fury, such as a huge foundry,
have some chance on the air, and views of assembly lines,
etc., occasionaly get by on the strength of military produc-
tion, when they are manned either by brawny-type workers
or by women so slight as to seem a little incongruous.
By transporting a laboratory setup into a studio, such
processes as treatment with fluorescent chemicals and ma-
chining metal to minuscule tolerances often possess sufficient
novelty to appeal to the sense of wonderment.
There is special demand for apparel items on television.
Credit usually is given by signs or captions, seldom by voice.
The fashion-publicity realm, so closely allied to the enter-
tainment world, follows more closely the press-agent tech-
niques of Broadway than does the publicity worker who
serves less glamorous industries. Display of stylish wares by
theatrical people is a useful and effective means of bringing
them to the attention of consumers. To a limited extent, food
publicity partakes of this same quality of being in the current
vogue. Yet though jewels, frocks, hats, and shoes are re-
Television and Radio 137
garded as necessary accouterments for many television pro-
grams, it is rarely that a food item used on a show gains
An ingenious publicity man for a flour mill got over this
hurdle very neatly, by putting on a pancake-making contest.
It was staged in a New York hotel, and the participants were
all men, most of them bearing "news names," that is, promi-
nent enough to make editors and program directors inter-
ested in the story. One reason, of course, for reluctance to
push food products is that they are competitive as adver-
tisers, and a favor to one might require additional and less
warranted attention to publicity demands by others. Thus
the flour mill's publicity man had an even more difficult task
than if his company had made roller bearings or window
glass. His triumph in getting on the air was the more cred-
itable because it demanded the application of more than
Such a gadget as the computing machine which "thinks"
by electronic means is ordinarily more fitting for radio-TV
publicity, and these devices have become so popular as to be
commonplace on the air. All networks have programs on
which oddities in the way of products are part of the show.
In the local community it is not impossible to display locally
manufactured articles as a matter of civic interest.
Manufacturers of furniture, kitchen equipment, and the
like are frequently asked to lend stage properties, and though
they usually comply, the value of having a product shown
without any identification is not convincingly high, unless
its shape or some characteristic is so outstanding that few
can fail to recognize it.
To go overboard in an attempt to get one's products on
138 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
the air is a temptation. However, the publicity man should
consider whether his product really belongs there, and
whether, if shown, it will not obtrude and thus take away
from the enjoyment of the television viewer. He should ask
himself in advance, How many really favorable impacts will
this showing make? Not to discount enthusiasm, it can lead
one astray if not balanced by a sense of proper placement as
well as timing.
People, not products, are the soundest basis for publicity
on the air. The company benefits, even if the person is not
shown or heard in connection with his job, though that is
preferable. Few plants have not a glee club, an athlete of
prowess, an amateur performer, or a local civic leader on
the payroll. It is the publicity man's chore to seek out talent,
to place it, and to reap for the company a maximum benefit.
The advantage of this type of publicity is its human
quality. Identification with the company carries the overtone
that this must be a pleasant and interesting place to work,
since it has attracted people of such talent. Participation
with national, state, or local groups, in philanthropic and
civic-betterment drives, support of educational, religious,
and patriotic projects, widens the opportunities for legitimate
identification of the company.
Professional and trade activities of company personnel
open still another field for personal appearances. Discovery
that an official or employee is an authority on a subject makes
him or her a good subject for interview or demonstration.
The publicity man, by introducing the program director
Television and Radio 139
to an entirely new source of talent of one sort or another, has
given good service. It is on such willingness to find live talent
that the publicity worker builds acceptance for those com-
pany participations that mean much in his own work; if he
has proved helpful in revealing fresh talent, the program
director will strain a point in his favor when it is a favor
Company standing can be greatly enhanced by the ap-
pearance of its spokesman on serious radio or television pro-
grams. This is where the panel, the forum, the address, and
the interview on business and social matters can be used to
advantage. Individual reputation will be built in the public
mind, to be sure; and this reflects credit on the company. At
times company policies, well defined, can be made the sub-
ject of appearances on the air.
A word of caution: Do not put a poor speaker, or one who
does not "look the part" on the air, no matter what his po-
sition in the company. A stumbling delivery, too frequent
reference to notes, a grim air, or a bored appearance can
ruin the effect. In some cases it is advisable to keep the
usual company spokesman under wraps, if he honestly will
not make a good public impression. This may be a hard pill
for the publicity man to take. In his company's interest,
he should be as objective and realistic as possible, seeking
the advice, perhaps, of radio and television executives. Rarely
will the risk of making a wrong impression appear too great
to accept, but if this circumstance does arise, it had better
be faced in advance.
140 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
There is another branch of radio and television publicity,
extremely beneficial, but demanding extensive and care-
ful planning. This is the preparation and distribution of
brief program parts that can be fitted in by radio "colum-
nists," especially on food and household programs. A script
may be written or the program part may be read by a radio
professional into a microphone for recording on a tape or
phonograph disk— in radio parlance, a platter. Such material
as recipes, household hints, proper use of appliances, etc.,
go into this service. It is not advisable merely to make up
one program part. If syndication is to be attempted, it should
be on a regular and dependable basis.
Publicity scripts, tapes, and platters are used as "fill-ins"
by the radio columnist. One excerpt (not over two minutes)
may be read or played one day, another bit on another oc-
casion. The material is valued by the busy radio columnist
as background. Obvious product "plugs" cannot be used,
and only one mention of the company or trade association
sending out the material should be made in any one part
intended for broadcasting.
A sample batch of broadcast material should be prepared,
from six to ten individual parts. This may be mailed to the
radio columnists in the territory to be covered, into whose
programs it will logically fit. With the sample a return post
card should be enclosed, with a form for requesting the
service. Subsequent samplings may be made at three-month
intervals, but the service should not be started to any pro-
gram not requesting it.
A regular transcribed feature program, if superbly done,
Television and Radio 141
also proves acceptable to many radio stations. "Adventures
in Research," produced by Westinghouse Electric Corpora-
tion, was distributed to 128 stations in forty-six states, with-
out charge for station time. No "commercials" were used, of
course, but the company was identified in each of the tran-
scriptions. The length of such transcriptions can be anything
from three to fourteen minutes.
chapter 11 Publicity on the Screen
Publicity films made for industries reach people mainly in
1. At home, through television.
2. In motion-picture theaters.
3. At group meetings ( schools, clubs, etc. ) .
To meet competition for the public's eyes and ears, films
from industry require superb quality, which, however, need
not be expensive. People pay to see timely newsreels and
the entertainment output of Hollywood. Thousands of other
new motion pictures, as well as slides and filmstrips, are
distributed yearly, either free or at very low cost per show-
ing. Some are commercially made and sold as educational
materials, supplementing book and lecture. Others, con-
taining a message underlying their entertainment value,
are sponsored by industries, agencies of our own and other
governments, and educational, civic, or philanthropic or-
Many films are used by industrial companies for purposes
more or less differing from that of publicity, such as em-
ployee training, sales promotion, and advertising to dealers
and customers. There is some overlapping; a picture made
primarily for one use often does secondary services in an-
other field— a film on safety, for example. And parts of a
movie can sometimes be lifted from one reel and fitted into
Publicity on the Screen 143
another, such as a sequence showing an interesting process
or research project.
However related to or dependent on other films produced
for the same company, the publicity film works toward the
same primary purpose as all other publicity media— to cast
a favorable light on the company as an institution. It is not
for direct sales promotion, for recruiting or instructing em-
ployees, raising the value of the company's stock, or con-
vincing the owners of the efficiency of management. True,
any or all of these praiseworthy objectives may be served
by publicity, on the screen as elsewhere. But no matter
what phase of company activity is depicted, the underlying
institutional character should be demonstrated or implied,
in order to gain a broad base of public acceptance and avoid
resentment against too much commercialism.
MOVIES ON TELEVISION
Hundreds of publicity movies from industry, adapted to
the special timing requirements of television and usually
with a sound script written for the purpose, are used by tele-
vision stations and networks. A story on film is often pre-
ferred to a "live" show on an industrial subject because it
makes for smooth continuity, inclusion of many scenes, many
camera angles, many participants; and sequences can be
taken at various times.
A motion picture for television produced by an industrial
association is likely to be favored over one from an indi-
vidual company because it carries less advertising connota-
tion. Several companies may contribute scenes to such a
production, and while there is no individual company identi-
fication, all members of the industry benefit.
144 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
The steel industry, for example, related the story of the
restoration of the country's first productive blast furnace at
Saugus, Mass., on color film for educational and other non-
theatrical showings. A black-and-white version of the same
motion picture, approximately fourteen minutes in length,
edited expressly for television audiences, was supplied to
stations in many cities. Such films are cordially received
because they possess innate educational and historical value,
display an entire industry in a favorable light, and serve
the public interest. To maintain their franchise from the
government, both radio and television stations are required
to use a certain amount of material of a public-service
character. When an industry is sufficiently farseeing to band
together and hand the stations fresh, professionally prepared
programs, the reception is usually enthusiastic.
Films of research-laboratory activities likewise are wel-
comed, and for local station use it is usually better to offer
a television story of a company or community project on
film rather than to ask "live" coverage, which can be ex-
A typical all-industry series is Industry on Parade, pro-
duced each week by the National Association of Manu-
facturers, which selects from four to five companies per
program, taking from each a sequence that reveals a signifi-
cant contribution to American life. On one such program
a New Jersey manufacturer with fifty employees found him-
self in company with General Motors. The institutional mes-
sage of his story was the development of a small business
enterprise, while that of the giant corporation was based
on its ability to convert a large plant to war production
almost overnight. The series is given to television stations
Publicity on the Screen 145
without charge and is presented each week by them as a
In television's early years a great deal of poor-quality
film from industrial and other sources was screened. This
phase has passed, however. Though television scouts still are
on the lookout for industrial subjects on film, high profes-
sional quality is now demanded.
The average length of a newsreel destined to be shown
in motion-picture theaters is a little less than eight minutes,
or about 700 feet of 35-mm film. From five to eleven sub-
jects are included, from 50 to 350 feet, or thirty seconds to
three minutes each. Two newsreels are released per week
by the five national producers, Warner Pathe, Fox, Universal,
MGM, and Paramount, all with studios in New York, and
with facilities so flexible that picture sequences can be
taken, processed, and put into the current newsreel
within two days, no matter where the scene of action is
Though he may be tense, high-strung, always on the qui
vive, and apt to demand of others the quick pace of his own
business, the typical newsreel editor is more satisfactory to
deal with than most others. He knows what he wants, moves
fast to get it, and plays fair with publicity people. By fol-
lowing these simple steps, the publicist with an appealing
subject can multiply his chances of getting it used:
1. Send a copy of the news release prepared for news-
papers on the same subject, well in advance— from a week
to ten days, but never more than a month.
2. Send a letter with the release, giving any further back-
146 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
ground that will help the editor to decide in its favor. Cover
in addition the following specific details:
a. What kind of lighting facilities are available, if any.
Adequate power lines are important. If only direct current
can be supplied, do not omit that fact.
b. Describe sound conditions at the scene. State whether
extraneous sounds, such as factory noises, can be stilled
while the sequence is being taken. Do not promise anything
you cannot deliver.
c. If the background scene is exceptional or hard to visual-
ize, include a still picture of it with your letter. Indicate
whether extra facilities will be needed, and whether you can
supply them, for placing cameras; e.g., erection of platforms
d. Estimate the number of persons to appear in the pic-
e. Unless you are experienced in movie work, do not sub-
mit a shooting script or time schedule or any other technical
details. In any case, do not write a sound-track script for a
/. Give explicit directions for reaching the location, prefer-
ably bus, train, or plane schedules if it is out of the way. One
newsreel crew lost thirty-six hours in the Ozarks— and the
industrial publicity man lost his picture, despite considerable
g. If you are prepared to pay travel expense of a camera
crew, say so. If the location is far from New York, a corre-
spondent camera crew from another city will cover the event.
The offer to pay or share expenses is usually not necessary,
except to isolated locations. It helps the chances but cannot
Publicity on the Screen 147
h. Do not ask the editor to promise to use your subject
because you are going to trouble and expense for him. Your
story is competing with about fifty others, of which not
more than eleven will be chosen. The editor cannot and will
not make foolish promises. (Neither should you.)
Except on a disaster story, do not telephone or call in
person instead of writing. There is just no time to talk to
you. If you are under time pressure yourself, telegraph, but
be sure to cover in the telegram all the details specified
above, and follow with confirming letter.
Newsreels, released to theaters twice a week, are made up
on Mondays and Thursdays. It is not the practice for one
newsreel company to shoot a picture for all, except under
war conditions. Competition is lively, and the editor ex-
pects an exclusive. If you make arrangements with one, and
his camera crew arrives on the scene only to see competing
crews, without prior notification, the likelihood is that all
will walk off the location without shooting the picture. Some
news events planned by publicity men do warrant coverage
by all, but none ever warrants deception.
It is preferable, when feasible, to stage an event specifi-
cally for the newsreel, even though this means a repetition or
preview of a presentation to still cameramen, writers, tele-
vision, or radio. If the event is being covered by television,
the newsreel editor should know this in advance. It prob-
ably will not kill off his interest, but he is entitled to fair
An old film, shot by an amateur, which a company official
thinks would make a dandy newsreel is not cordially received
because these films so often are made on the wrong size of
film, at silent rather than sound speed, and almost invariably
148 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
have some technical flaws. Besides, just to inspect them
takes up valuable time. The newsreel would rather shoot
the subject over again if it has merit.
Now for the exception. If you can hire facilities, including
a professional camera crew, and have some savvy about
newsreel needs, you may gamble on covering an event with
35-mm film, which may be sent to the newsreel office, by
advance arrangement. Two outstanding successes in this
type of placement were made by Hamilton Wright, a special-
ist in public-relations uses of motion pictures. They were the
inauguration of the first governor of Puerto Rico and the
Newsreel editors make many publicity men happy be-
cause they have no particular objection to identifying
products. A sequence on a waterproofing material for fabrics,
called Aquapruf, mentioned the trade-mark name. But the
obvious press-agent gag is difficult to place with the news-
reels, e.g., a sequence showing an elephant standing on a
plate of glass, and another of a horse at a book auction.
If newsreel editors have a weakness for one type of pub-
licity subject, it is fashions. In submitting fashion ideas, it
is worth while to send along still pictures, preferably in
color, of models wearing the garments to be shown. Though
it is not likely that the sight of the company president read-
ing his annual report to the stockholders will make a news-
reel, it has been done, at a tumultuous assembly attended
by prominent people, plus plenty of action. Do not count
on it for your company.
On the other hand, a new invention has an excellent
chance, if it is at all pictorial. Often a small-scale model,
which can be taken to the newsreel studio, by prior arrange-
Publicity on the Screen 149
ment, is even better, for it can be taken apart, reassembled,
given controlled-lighting treatment, etc., all of which in-
trigues the camera crew and may even merit a hasty glance
by the editor himself. But do not walk in unannounced with
a model, even a live one.
In the late 1940s the motion-picture industry began to co-
operate with other commercial and industrial interests as
never before. A typically colossal movie, Weekend at the
Waldorf, tested out a question that had remained unre-
solved since the days of The Perils of Pauline; to wit, would
people pay money at the box office to see films that were
friendly to business?
If this movie had been taken twenty years earlier, it would
have been thought necessary to call it Weekend at the Dorf-
wald, or in some other way seek to camouflage the fact that
a famous New York hotel was the locale. The fact that the
hotel would benefit from the publicity would once have de-
terred honest identification. By its enthusiastic public re-
ception, Weekend at the Waldorf provided one symptom
of a trend in the changing movie industry that has important
implications for publicity men.
Hollywood has not as yet quite solved the problems raised
by its lusty competitor-ally, television. With television's de-
pendence on films for both entertainment and public-service
programs, legitimate opportunities for business publicity
reaching both into homes and theaters are likely to multiply.
At present, publicity for industrial companies in theatrical
screen productions is largely confined to settings and stage
properties. Agencies in Hollywood undertake to place a cer-
150 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
tain brand of refrigerator, automobile, etc., in the setting for
a movie, and for this service the company pays a fee. This
is similar to the kind of tie-up an individual company pub-
licity man sometimes can make with a television program.
It is of minor consequence under ordinary circumstances. It
would be a mistake, however, to write off future possibilities.
Hollywood learned much about cooperation during World
War II, when the military and other government branches
inspired much movie production and in turn lent facilities
and personnel on a lavish scale. With the pendulum of pop-
ular favor swinging toward business enterprise, the movie
industry is bound to feel this new and strong influence. If
participation is not overdone or abused, there will probably
be increasing disposition to work with publicity people from
INSTITUTIONAL PUBLICITY MOVIES
Bear in mind that a publicity movie should have as its
general purpose to cast a favorable light on the company
as an institution. This abstract idea needs to be translated
into specific terms. Some possibilities:
The "How" Picture
In straightaway documentary style it relates plant, proc-
esses, production, etc., to the finished product, such as a
pair of shoes, a bridge, a newspaper, an airplane. The story
starts at A and ends at Z, packs a tremendous amount of in-
formation into small space, and leaves the viewer impressed
by the skill, ingenuity, and enterprise required to turn out
the product. This kind of film has great vogue in grade
schools and possesses secondary usefulness for nontheatrical
Publicity on the Screen 151
adult audiences as a sales-promotion medium. Its adult dis-
tribution may often be undertaken by a company's own dis-
tributors and dealers, for the latter purpose.
The Science Picture
This variant on the "how" picture stresses research, taking
the audience into laboratory and field locations, frequently
using animation, photomicography, etc. Its base is broader
that the company's own activities. For example, a film about
plastics, slanted to science, would review the development of
man-made plastics, narrow down to those produced by the
company, and finally stress the particular research project, a
new plastics development, which is the kernel of the pub-
The science picture ranges more broadly than the "how"
picture, reaching up to college level scholastically, recruiting
audiences with some business or technical interest in plastics,
and penetrating into general programs of such adult groups
as women's and service clubs, lodges, and societies. Distri-
bution can be made through film libraries of scientific organi-
zations and through audiovisual centers and by direct con-
The All-company Picture
This type attempts to carry the full institutional message in
one package. Its skeleton structure parallels that of the or-
ganization itself, with sequences of general management,
purchasing, production, personnel, marketing, and industrial
and community relations. Despite its broad theme, it is not
aimed at an audience as broad as the first two categories, for
it demands an interest in advance in this particular company.
152 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
However, for a company with a single line of products, a
well-defined audience area, and an evident public curiosity
about the company, it can be extremely effective.
The Sociological Picture
As a rule, this kind of picture takes one aspect of a business
and shows the company's relationship to other organizations
and to the public from this single point of view. The pur-
chasing department of a large food packer, for example,
brought out convincingly its contribution to the livelihood of
thousands of persons who had no obvious connection with
the plant. They were toilers in far-off lands, transportation
workers, farmers, miners, officials in various government
branches. By using the newsreel techniques, these diverse
elements were shown as contributing to and being econom-
ically sustained by an institution that was doing a good job.
Another company's publicity department chose the institu-
tion's place in the community as its theme; another depicted
the lives of company workers in all their in-company and
Large companies go further, taking the ambitious doctrine
of "the American way" as their general topic and relating the
company's business to it. Movies of this particular philosophy
need the most expert guidance in order not to veer into
political preachments which might make enemies as well as
friends. More typically, a group or a business-sponsored
foundation will undertake the free-enterprise theme. It can
lead to unexpected acclaim. A series of movie cartoons spon-
sored by Harding College and financed by a friendly founda-
tion was of such quality that a national booking agency
controlling several thousand theaters bought rights to show
Publicity on the Screen 153
these films to audiences which paid for the privilege. This
was one institutional publicity movie that outran its original
purpose and reached a tremendous audience, because of
its timeliness and excellence of production.
WORKING WITH THE PRODUCER
Several large Hollywood studios have commercial branches
that make publicity and other movies for industry. In most
large cities there are specialists in this type of motion picture.
The cost of making an effective publicity movie ranges
from under $5,000 to over $250,000, depending on length,
scope, cast, and type of audience sought. Top sums can be
wisely spent. They are not necessarily extravagant. Compe-
tition for this business is strong, and for that reason bids
made by a number of producers given the same specifications
usually fall within range of each other. A variation of 10 to
15 per cent is not significant.
Before a specific producer is even considered, however,
decisions on certain questions should be made. These in-
Is publicity the main or a secondary purpose?
What type of audience are you most interested in?
In what specific area is this audience located?
Should the movie be made for television and adapted for
other audiences, or vice versa?
Should the movie deal with the company as a whole or
with one aspect?
Whether the producer selected is large or small, located
nearby or across the country, is not so important as it may
seem. The same routine investigation of his reliability, bank-
ing and credit references, etc., should be made as with any
154 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
other service offered for sale. The best and simplest test is
to view samples of previous films of similar nature made by
the producer. It is quite in order to inquire of those who
bought the films as to their experience.
Make sure not only as to previous work of the organization,
but as to that of the script-writer and the director. The
cameraman is equally important, but with justification differ-
ent camera crews often are used on parts of the same movie.
As Henry Clay Gipson says in his book Films in Business and
Industry, "Film production ... is an even more highly
personalized activity than advertising, although the selection
of a producer and of an advertising agency have much in
It is essential to keep in close contact with the producer
through every phase of the motion picture. After a contract
is signed, conferences should be held with him and the
script- writer before a word is written. The first step is to
give the producer a written statement of the film's objectives.
Then he and the script-writer should be indoctrinated into
company policies affecting the film and shown as much of
the plant as is feasible. There may be a temptation to limit
such plant visits to those parts the management think pic-
torial or significant. The film writer, like any writer, will do
better work if he is permitted wide scope, for nobody can tell
in advance where he will pick up the idea that will lift the
film out of the ordinary.
A "treatment," or description of the film theme as the
producer understands it, will be submitted. This is subject
to management review and necessary changes. Then the
producer will come up with a visualization, describing in
picture terms how the treatment will be applied.
Publicity on the Screen 155
This is a point of divergence into one of three classes of
film treatment: factual, semifictional, and fictional. All three
are successfully used. Even a factual treatment needs a
thread of continuity. This is partially supplied by the sound
track on which a narrator's voice describes various operations
in turn. It would be helped by having, say, a party of visitors
being escorted through the plant, so that the same persons
are seen in various places. By this simple device the audience
"joins" the party without realizing it.
An excellent semifictional treatment was given to a seem-
ingly "cold" subject, Build with Steel, produced for the
American Institute of Steel Construction. The narrator, seen
throughout, is a building contractor, and it is his voice that
is heard on the sound track. A second character, his son,
appears in the various scenes also. The semifictional quality
is given by having the father tell, via sound, of his ambition
to have his son follow him in the business. A remarkably
warm and human effect was given, without obtruding on
the main subject, the advantages of the use of steel in con-
The Middleton Family at the World's Fair, an all-out
fictional concoction, complete with dialogue and sound ef-
fects, called for a professional cast, elaborate lighting, and
all the finest techniques of the grand-scale entertainment
movie. It was produced for Westinghouse Electric, much of
the action taking place in and around that company's fair
exhibit in New York.
The fictional treatment is bound to be more expensive than
the others; the semifictional adds little expense and, except
156 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
for strictly classroom purposes, is far more effective as a rule
than the straight factual narrative.
A "shooting script," outlining the story of the film in a
series of picture sequences, is written by the script-writer,
often in collaboration with the company publicity man. A
sound script, giving the words of the narration or dialogue
for various scenes and indicating sound effects or music
where needed, accompanies the working script. Both are sub-
ject to revision, emendation, and minor changes as the mak-
ing of the picture progresses.
Considerable leeway should be given to both script-writer
and producer, whose professional training is expected to
equip them with better judgment as to how to get the effects
wanted than company people are likely to have. Many a
publicity movie has been robbed of outstanding effectiveness
by too much interference. Ability to judge what a picture
will look like from the verbal description is rare. It is advis-
able to show the script to only a few top-echelon company
people, authorized to make decisions on it. Any obvious
errors not caught by the publicity staff during the course of
production can readily be corrected before a final O.K. is
given to the picture.
A member of the publicity staff should act as technical
adviser during the film's production. He is the company
representative assigned temporarily to the producer's staff,
usually on a part-time basis. His duty is to make sure that
Publicity on the Screen 157
company policy is not violated; no militarily classified areas
are to be shown; processes that are secret or involved in
patent disputes should not come under the camera's eye,
even for atmosphere; workmen in practice often violate
safety and other rules. The technical adviser is on the look-
out for such instances, to prevent film wastage; the same
vigilance as is shown in making still photographs is impor-
tant here, including cleanliness, models who look the part,
The technical adviser also will view the "rushes," sections
of the film developed and printed from day to day. These
should be inspected currently, in case retakes of sequences
When the film has been edited, a complete "working print"
should be viewed only by the company officials in charge of
the project, including if possible the president or chairman.
The narration may be read at this showing, and detailed
comments received. They may be taken down on a tape
recorder, that great settler of arguments as to what was and
was not said in any conference.
Following the viewing of the working print, a semifinal
print should be given a final run-through for the publicity
staff. Often it is advisable to include at this showing an
audience of superintendents and others involved in making
the film. It not only pleases them to be in on a preview, but
prevents unpleasant surprises later. Any serious objection
from this audience should be given proper weight, and cor-
rections deemed essential made.
Once final O.K.'s have been given, the movie is ready for
printing in quantity and for distribution.
158 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
FILMSTRIPS AND SLIDES
At a fraction of the cost of a motion picture, publicity
stories of any range can be told through the modern magic
lantern, the slide and filmstrip projector. It uses the same
35-mm film, can be handled with or without sound, and
projects an image of suitable size for an auditorium seating
up to 600.
The filmstrip is a strip of film containing a succession of
frames, just like a movie film. The projector is operated
manually, one picture being shown at a time, without motion.
Educators and lecturers tend to prefer the filmstrip over the
motion picture, because it enables them to pause at any
point, either for questioning or for further discussion or ex-
planation. Thus a 60-frame filmstrip, which could be viewed
in ten minutes, may be sufficient to hold interest for three
or four times as long.
Most filmstrips are now made in full color, as the differ-
ence in cost over black and white is small. Projectors repre-
sent a minor investment; most school systems and many
libraries and meeting halls are equipped with them.
Though the filmstrip obviously carries less excitement than
the movie, it is more versatile in some ways. For example,
an industrial story laid partly in the seventeenth century and
partly in the present was related on filmstrip by combining
a series of water-color pictures of historical scenes and per-
sons with color photographs taken in modern factories and at
open-air sites. By skillful color treatment of the art work,
there was no sense of abrupt change from one to the other.
With the filmstrip goes a manual. One excellent method
is to use photo-offset reproductions of the frames, with fuller
Publicity on the Screen 159
explanation of captions, suggested questions, and discussion
topics. This small booklet is a teaching and lecture aid, serv-
ing to widen and deepen the interest of the audience in
Because of the phenomenal growth in popularity of the
filmstrip in the 1950s, particularly among audiovisual direc-
tors of school systems, several of the largest industrial com-
panies now budget more of these than of motion pictures
for publicity purposes. One of these companies, checking on
results, reported that the filmstrip was shown to more but
on the whole somewhat smaller audiences than a comparable
movie. The explanation given was that filmstrips cost from
only a dollar or so per print and thus usually are a permanent
donation, rather than a loan, as in the case of a movie. This
permits their use by one organization for months or years.
A very few shipments of a movie reel proved actually more
expensive than the cost of a filmstrip print, including postage.
A series of individual slides, each containing one picture,
is a tried and true alternative. Since the film is bound be-
tween 2- by 2-inch glass plates, a hand-labor operation, the
cost of a slide series is considerably higher than that of a
comparable filmstrip. However, for lecture use it has the
great advantage of flexibility. To cut and splice a movie film
requires expert hands and eyes, while with a filmstrip it is
impractical. The slide series, however, can be changed
around at will, new slides included, obsolete ones dropped
out. Modern slide projectors handle the pictures semi-
automatically, so that slides are the least awkward of all
materials for screening.
Large organizations which conduct educational or plant-
community programs requiring regular service of filmstrips
160 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
use the same pictures for slides purposes, for the convenience
of the users. As a rule, executives, engineers, and scientists
who participate in the activities of a company speakers'
bureau tend to prefer the slide to either the movie or the
filmstrip— perhaps because it is the direct descendant of the
magic lantern of their boyhood and can be handled so easily.
DISTRIBUTING SCREEN MATERIALS
To set up a distribution system within a company for
movies, fllmstrips, and slides is an elaborate and expensive
process. Combining the distribution of publicity films with
that of films intended to boost sales, recruit employees, or
pursue some other main objective may provide a partial
answer in a large company but is never quite satisfactory.
Facilities already available should be used, of course, but
they should be supplemented by the publicity department's
own efforts to find audiences not reachable through company
For example, a manufacturer with fifty distributors located
strategically throughout the country may have accustomed
them to routines of the mechanical handling of company
sales films. They can be used as depots for publicity films as
well. But to expect the distributor, whose job is to move
goods, to bother making arrangements for showing a re-
search or all-company institutional film to the Rotary Clubs
in his territory is an imposition. He likewise has no usual
reason for calling on the audiovisual director of the schools,
who will be far from naive about films, and not exactly
overwhelmed at the proffer of a free one.
The alternative, to which the largest companies turn after
experience in making their own distribution, is to hire it
Publicity on the Screen 161
done. Selection of a good distribution agency is not so diffi-
cult as that of naming a producer, but it does call for the
same careful investigation of his credit, repute, and evidence
of good results with the same kind of film. This is important.
An agency with integrity will not accept for distribution a
film of inferior quality, because it has the good will of its
own market to maintain. Nor will it blanket the high schools
of a nation just because the sponsor is willing to pay for as
many films as needed.
Perhaps less than a score of agencies really know the ins
and outs of distributing publicity films to school audiences,
to farm organizations, to labor unions, to foreign groups.
These are highly specialized fields, and to reach them and
bring back good will demands skill and experience. Some
producers of industrial films also act as distributing agents;
others work in close alliance with such agencies. The fact
that a distribution agency has sent out many films is no
proof of their reception. That proof, which should be very
carefully scrutinized and checked upon, is the only sound
basis for choice of a distributor.
When the movie, filmstrip, or slide series is for distribution
in a fairly limited area; when the type of audience is special-
ized, as for example engineering or technical societies; or
when it is suitable for distribution through the 200 film li-
braries and film centers conducted by libraries, colleges,
foundations, government agencies, and a few trade associa-
tions—then the manufacturer may handle the distribution of
prints without recourse to a professional distribution agency.
The latter course, however, lifts a burden from the sponsor
and is usually well worth the standard estimated cost of 1
cent per viewer.
162 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
PUBLICITY AND EXPLOITATION
Working either through a distributor of films or inde-
pendently, the manufacturer will find reception by organ-
izations equally cordial, with a few qualifying ho we vers. To
reach farm groups, endorsement by farm-organization leaders
is helpful. To persuade educators to take a film offer seriously,
approval is needed from recognized audiovisual authorities.
Labor unions will be more receptive if a union official of
prominence has given the film his blessing. Most groups are
besieged with offers of free films; they are no longer a
novelty. Thus the first step in exploitation of a new one is
to get the sanction of national-organization heads, their pub-
licity departments, or film reviewing boards.
The extent to which posters, advertising copy and mats,
and other promotional devices are furnished depends on the
budget, the audience, and the occasion. It is advisable not to
go overboard on such material for publicity films.
Much more important is the distribution to the audience
of a single piece of tastefully prepared company literature.
This may be a leaflet based on the film, a utilization booklet
on the filmstrip, a brochure about the company in general—
not plugging products— or in some cases a straight advertis-
ing take-home novelty like a ruler or a tie clasp.
The effective way to keep memory of the film alive in the
minds of an audience is to give them something to take home,
a permanent reminder of which company's picture they saw.
Even the best screen material fades from the mind rather
rapidly. It is probably better to cut the number of audiences
by one-fourth, if budget demands it, in order to supply for
all viewers some kind of reminder.
Publicity on the Screen 163
Publicity for the film should be written in advance. Still
pictures may accompany it, but probably will be wasted.
The release accompanying the film should be not more than
one page of typescript, should follow the practice in prepar-
ing releases (see Chapter 7), and usually should be dis-
tributed to local press and radio stations by the local organ-
ization under whose auspices the film is to be shown. For
school classroom or other closed meetings, this advance pub-
licity should not be sent.
In plant cities, kind reviewers on the newspapers may be
willing to see a preview of the film and say something nice
about it, in advance of its first showing in the community.
This is worth trying. Bulletins or other publications of the
local organization showing the film will welcome the release,
and so will the publication of the local chamber of commerce.
If the distributing agency offers to prepare publicity on
the film, this should at least be submitted to the company's
publicity department, to ensure that the writing and physical
format are up to company standards. It is preferable for the
staff publicity man to spare time to perform this small but
not unimportant chore himself, to assure getting the com-
pany's own slant into the publicity copy.
chapter 12 Pamphlets, Brochures, and
In growing volume, business organizations are turning to the
"casual" publication as a publicity vehicle. The term casual
means merely that these types of company literature do not
appear at regular intervals; but there should be nothing acci-
dental or lackadaisical about them. On the contrary, a pro-
gram, planned and budgeted, will enable the publicity man
to fit small-size publications into his activity schedule much
more effectively than if he is required to accommodate those
that arise from a sudden bright idea, which may interrupt or
interfere with other projects.
The sound reason for the pamphlet— and we shall use this
term to include various formats of brochures, booklets, man-
uals, guides, and printed background memoranda— is that it
enables the company to tell part of its story in more or less
permanent form, using its own words, and text and illustra-
tion to produce the precise effect wanted. In this regard it
resembles the company book (Chapter 5) and the company
movie or filmstrip (Chapter 11) but differs from publicity in
which the final form is governed by outsiders, such as that
in newspapers and magazines and on the air.
The publicity pamphlet also differs from other company
literature akin to it in physical form, but directly promoting
sales to dealers or consumers.
Pamphlets, Brochures, and Manuals 165
Every publicity pamphlet should be directed toward read-
ership by one or more specific groups. The more specialized
this group, the deeper will be the pamphlet's penetration,
but obviously specialization will limit its circulation. Com-
promises have to be made both ways. At the start most
companies envision merely one pamphlet, which will tell
all to everybody that can be interested. This "shotgun" ap-
proach has distinct merits, particularly in a company new to
publicity. As a rule, it leads to a later series of "rifle" pam-
phlets aimed at more exact targets, selecting a narrower
range of topics, and greatly enlarging the amount of informa-
tion treated within this smaller scope.
THE ALL-GROUP APPROACH
A "facts pamphlet," giving essential information about a
company, is a great convenience in handling the flow of re-
quests from such groups as the following:
Banks and brokers.
Business and professional men.
Chambers of commerce.
Customers and suppliers.
Editors and writers.
Employees, present and prospective.
Lecturers and ministers.
Teachers and students.
166 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Shareholders and investors.
Statisticians and analysts.
To deliver a pamphlet that will answer the needs of these
diverse groups and others usually compels the publicity man
who prepares it to digest enough material to fill a thick book.
But he must produce a thin one. So he boils, cuts, trims,
eliminates much that would be of interest to individual
groups but not to all. With both text and pictures, he hits
only the high spots of the company story. In the process of
editing, though, he learns to find the vital core in each main
phase of the company's activities and to express this suc-
cinctly yet not cryptically. This takes some doing.
No workable formula for such a book can be laid down,
because in addition to condensing the material he must give
proper but not always equal emphasis to every aspect of the
business touched upon. It is this weighing of relative im-
portance of subject matter and context that makes the pam-
phlet suitable for his company and no other.
As a very general guide, the following elements are usually
Historical. When the company was started and by whom.
If appropriate, mention of predecessor companies. Growth
of the organization.
Present Organization. Ownership, management, location
of headquarters, main plant, and branches, possibly includ-
ing warehouses and sales offices.
Size. Expressed in dollar sales volume, number of units
Pamphlets, Brochures, and Manuals 167
produced, number of employees, or some other disclosable
figure. If no indication of size is given, a flow of requests
from disappointed readers is to be expected.
Products. What the company makes, and how.
Research. If any.
Market. Who the customers are, in general terms. If non-
consumer items are made, their further uses should be ex-
plained to the point of ultimate consumption.
Employees. The kinds of workers, what they do, and how
the company treats them— pay, pensions, profit sharing, wel-
fare benefits, educational, training, and recreational pro-
Community. The company's assumption of civic, economic,
and social responsibilities in communities, industry affairs,
WRITING THE FACTS PAMPHLET
Most but not all managements are wise enough to recog-
nize the need for professional writing skill in a publicity
medium so intimate and so filled with prestige potential as a
facts pamphlet. Oftentimes industrial relations, legal, and
even controllers' talents are expended on this task, until it is
turned over, alas! to the advertising agency for production.
This is seldom good. The editorial rather than the advertis-
ing approach is wanted. First-rate advertising agencies un-
derstand this, and engage a competent business writer or
turn over the job to a public relations counselor who has the
publicity approach. Thus the project may travel by a cir-
cuitous route to a writer who presumably has the reportorial
sense required to see the unusual and attractive and to
describe it in terms acceptable to the proposed readership.
168 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Obviously the job should have been handed at the start
to the publicity staff or the company's public relations coun-
sel if it has one. Preparation of the manuscript, design of the
pamphlet, illustration, printing, and distribution involve
technical problems within the publicity man's ken. Lack of
time frequently becomes a most valid reason for him to pass
on the project to others. One alternative is to handle the
research himself, with cooperation from all departments,
and call on an outsider for professional help.
Under his personal guidance, a qualified writing specialist
can approximate the end result the publicity man would
have attained. He may even add an element of freshness;
his outside point of view may be nearer to that of the reader
than is that of the company. The questions to which he seeks
answers are likely to be the same ones that occur to those
who will receive the pamphlet. However, if the company's
own publicity man can spare time for both research and
writing, he should attempt it, for the facts pamphlet will
give him a thorough acquaintance with a store of information
about the company, much of which may never be published
but is valuable to his depth of understanding.
As a practical first step in research for a facts pamphlet,
a letter signed by the president should go to all department
heads, advising them of the project and soliciting their coop-
eration with the writer. The real digging comes on personal
visits by the writer to departments and is not to be had in
five minutes. A "bull session" with a group of top men in a
department or division, preferably after working hours, will
elicit valuable leads. Then they should be asked for specific
Researching for company facts, seemingly a quick and easy
Pamphlets, Brochures, and Manuals 1G9
job, really demands good detective work; for, explain though
he may, the writer cannot quite get men to whom his work
is foreign to grasp precisely what he is after. Patience, will-
ingness to delve into obscure sources, within and without the
company, is likely to bring up treasures that top management
did not know about. This kind of triumph is the publicity
man's reward, and also a sound and sensible reason why he
should take on the research task himself if at all feasible.
Information should be classified. A handy method is to
label a set of ordinary manila file folders by categories, such
as historical, financial, and product development, and to
place all incoming records and other information in the
appropriate folder soon after receipt and first inspection.
This bit of mechanical preparation for the writing task saves
hours and headaches. The researching process may take
from two weeks to a year or more, depending on time sched-
ules, volume of work required, and progress in personal in-
terviews. For a company more than twenty-five years old,
one that has absorbed other organizations, or one with
diverse lines of products, at least several months should be
Experience emphasizes one basic admonition. Do not start
to write the pamphlet until research is nearly over. False
starts are costly of time and energy and have the psycho-
logical effect of dampening the writer's fervor. If an outside
writer is called in, files need not be completed, for he will
find stimulation in the personal contacts in the research; but
the bulk of it should be in hand.
Preliminary to the actual writing, a one-page memorandum
should be prepared, giving the working title of the pamphlet,
its purpose, audiences to be reached, estimate of number of
170 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
copies needed, tentative specifications of page size, number
of pages, and proportion of illustrations to text. Main points
to be made, but not details, should be stated. This memo-
randum may be shown as a matter of record, to the top official
who authorized the project. Its chief value is to the pub-
licity man in charge of the project. Unless he has put in
writing his original conception of the pamphlet, many di-
verse influences will beset his judgment, and he will be in
danger of wandering far from target, theme, and treatment.
Though changes are inevitable as the project advances,
references to the original statement will serve to keep it on
the main track. Before a formal outline of contents is at-
tempted, the final project should be envisioned and a dummy
prepared. It is far simpler and also more effective to write a
manuscript with space proportions already decided on than
it is to make layouts and dummy fit the text.
PACKAGING THE FACTS
For final choice of format, design, layout, and art work,
talent outside the company should be called on, if the
budget will permit. The reason for this is that even versatile
art directors working for a single company are likely to come
up with an end product that looks like advertising or a
technical publication. The same observation applies, though
to a lesser degree, to the art department of an advertising
agency. An art studio or free-lance designer should be
chosen; or if the company engages one of the few public
relations agencies large enough to include an art staff, its
work should be adequate. Organizations which specialize in
public relations production work are also accessible to smaller
Pamphlets, Brochures, and Manuals 171
The art director of the pamphlet project will benefit to
a considerable extent by reading the text manuscript. What
he needs to know is what you are trying to achieve, what
points to emphasize visually. He should be given as detailed
an outline as possible, should confer at intervals with the
writer and the publicity man, and of course should receive
a large selection of company photographs. The pictures will
be needed even if the pamphlet is to be illustrated only by
drawings. Usually both drawings and photographs are used.
The more pictures given to the art director the better.
Those on a single subject may be marked in order of prefer-
ence, and any that are "must" should be so designated. But,
to the extent it can be done, the designer of the pamphlet
should be left alone with a great many more pictures than
he will use— and his imagination. Even more than the writer,
he should be led by a light rein; otherwise the pamphlet
may look like a dozen others.
By handling design the right way with a minimum of inter-
ference, outstanding results can be achieved. This point is
illustrated by a facts-pamphlet design conceived by M. R.
Kaufmann, one of the country's prominent public relations
art directors, for the Air Reduction Company. To portray air
seemed a baffling assignment, but Kaufmann's treatment,
which was in color, proved that nothing is impossible. The
drawing, made by Leonard Jossel, depicted a retort set
against a background of the sky, on which the symbols of
chemical elements contained in the air were superimposed.
This tasteful presentation gained a practical result: few will
discard such an attractive booklet after reading it. The Air
Reduction pamphlet remained as a permanent and prized
possession in many offices.
172 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Pictorial pamphlets tell their story even to the hasty reader.
An attractive package helps create interest in the facts and
ideas it contains. Therefore the visual appearance of the
facts pamphlet needs first consideration. Words do not sub-
ordinate pictures, but complement them. And this can be
done more handily if the pamphlet is first designed and laid
out for pictorial effect, and text adjusted to illustrations.
(N.B.: A number of competent authorities disagree heartily
with this point of view. They are all writers. We yield the
point that in a full-length company book the text should get
A dummy is like a template or a mock-up. It consists of
pages cut to proper size and folded together in sequence,
on which rough sketches are drawn or photostats of photo-
graphs pasted. Titles are roughed in by hand, and spaces
where text will go are indicated. Ordinarily type is not set
for a dummy, but a page or two often is set for style, if
budget allows. The dummy enables the viewer to see about
what the finished job will look like. It should always be
explained to the uninitiated, however, that the cellophane
cover usually put over a dummy to protect it from getting
mussed up will not be used in the final product.
CLEARANCE AND PRODUCTION
By well-established routine the publicity man in charge
of a pamphlet project should get all statements cleared by
proper company authorities before publication. In the flush
of accomplishment this detail sometimes is overlooked, with
sad consequences. Clearances should be obtained on manu-
scripts and pictures rather than on printed proofs, to save
expense. The often advanced idea that not so many changes
Pamphlets, Brochures, and Manuals 173
are likely if some company official who is rather fussy doesn't
see the pamphlet until the last stages, because of the uni-
versal awe of the printed word, has its points in some cases,
but certainly is not recommended as a practice.
In choosing a printing process and a printer, advice from
the purchasing department or designer can be valuable. Let-
terpress, offset, and gravure have distinct merits for par-
ticular purposes. Governing factors should be the advice of
the art director, quality of work on past jobs, dependability
of delivery schedule, and price.
Two details that may not occur to others should be
watched by the publicity man in charge: the paper should
be opaque, so that printing on one side does not show
through on the other; and the first printing should be as
small as distribution demands will permit. It is better to reach
only a fraction of the eventual audience at first, in order to
benefit from any corrections or valid comments that dictate
changes. Enthusiasm on distribution possibilities can lead
one astray, especially in view of the lower cost per unit in a
large printing order. Despite every precaution, mistakes-
typographical, factual, and in expressions that can be mis-
interpreted—are a common experience. So be tentative. Try
out a small printing on the most responsive section of your
final audience, before trying to blanket the market.
Of all recipients of printed literature from industry,
teachers probably throw away more tonnage per year than
any other class. This causes bewilderment to some publicity
men, who conclude that it reflects hostility to industry. The
contrary is provably true. Closer acquaintance with teacher
174 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
attitudes would reveal that materials not requested, which
arrive without warning, are difficult to fit into the school
curriculum. A course of study is rather rigidly outlined in
most states, leaving a limited amount of teacher and pupil
time for project work and outside, unprescribed reading.
Industrial pamphlets of an institutional nature— not adver-
tising and sales-promotion literature— are widely used, but
this is usually on a planned basis.
Science teachers in particular are receptive to industrial
literature. Packets of materials from various industries are
distributed through the National Association of Science
Teachers. Through the facilities of Science Service, an en-
dowed nonprofit organization in Washington, members of
10,000 science clubs in high schools are reached with high-
standard informational kits called "Things of Science." A
few private agencies serve industrial companies by preparing
materials suitable for various grade levels.
These services coordinate closely with state, city, and rural
school systems, often calling on educators to assist in prepar-
ing copy and suggesting ideas for presentation. The mate-
rials are not scattered far and wide to unchecked mailing
lists. A limited number of copies is sent out for review and
appraisal, in the areas to be covered, with an invitation for
all interested teachers in the area to send in requests for
supplies sufficient for their needs.
The professional distributing agency that attempts to main-
tain its own prestige with educators delivers the literature
in bulk only on request. This conservative practice contrasts
with the flood of unasked and often unwanted material thai
inundates most school systems and that arouses distaste.
When every teacher in a school system, from kindergartei
Pamphlets, Brochures, and Manuals 175
to the senior-high-school class, receives a surprise package of
"comic books" describing an industry or seeking to persuade
children that the American economy is best, the friendliness
and good intention of the senders are not fully appreciated by
the teachers, who are averse to interrupting classroom work.
Some large industrial organizations persist in this "blanket-
ing" of school systems, by deliberate policy, believing that a
certain percentage of the material is bound to be used. This
shortsighted practice is a disservice to the sincere movement
on the part of industrial and educational leaders to cooperate
more closely than in the past. It is usually due to lack of
policy planning on the part of the industrial organization at
top level and indicates that the appropriation for a worthy
purpose is being misspent by staff helpers working without
Test programs on the community level are advisable as a
first step, before any large distribution is made. In local and
state school systems educators are alert to the problems of
distribution and also awake to the benefits to children and
teachers that knowledge of present-day industry can bring.
They will be only too ready to describe which industrial
materials they are now receiving in what they consider the
right way and which in the wrong way. It is not necessary to
hire an outside distribution agency, but a handful of them
offer effective service on a fairly economical basis.
Increasingly the chore of preparing printed materials for
communication within the company is being turned over to
publicity staffs and to other public relations people with
publicity training. This trend is based on two factors: a con-
176 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
ception of employees as part of the public; and the ability
of publicity people to express themselves simply and under-
standably. Personnel, advertising, and sales-promotion staffs
often participate, to the improvement of the manual. An
ideal setup is to have a committee in charge, with representa-
tion from all these departments. Budgetwise, the personnel
or industrial relations department normally governs the
Employee-information manuals have a common theme, to
sell the idea of working for the company to prospective and
new employees and their families and to resell it to veteran
employees. They also have a common basic content, indi-
cated by the following index from The Voice of Crosley,
prepared for hourly employees:
Attendance, badges, bulletin boards, cafeterias, causes for dis-
ciplinary action, cleanup period, collective bargaining, employ-
ment, first aid, grievances, group insurance, history of company,
holidays, hours of work, leaves of absence, lines of conduct, lost
and found, lunch periods, overtime, packages, parking, pay
checks, payroll deductions, plant protection, probationary period,
promotion, purchase of company products, records, requests for
time off, rest periods, rules and regulations, safety and health,
seniority, signals, smoking, supervisors, tardiness, telephone calls,
termination of employment, time cards, vacations, wage rates and
workmen's compensation. [This manual is supplemented by one
on insurance and other employee benefits.]
The content should not be presented alphabetically, but
related topics grouped together. In the Crosley manual, the
solid information was made palatable by use of cartoon illus-
trations, which gave the pamphlet an air of individuality.
It is risky business to follow slavishly either format or con-
tent of another company's manual. This important public
Pamphlets, Brochures, and Manuals 177
relations medium is one of the most useful means by which
management can arouse the interest and loyalty of em-
Writing skill is needed, to hit the right note. The same
content can be differently treated for girls on a light assembly
line than for men in a steel mill. Some companies produce
separate manuals for office and shop employees, a step justi-
fied only where many hundreds are included in both cate-
gories. The use of loose-leaf manuals, in which new pages
can be inserted as rules change, sounds like a good idea, but
in practice may become a nuisance. Better to reprint the
manual from time to time, and even to give it a complete
new dress and fresh editorial treatment.
chapter 13 Corporate Journalism
Editing company periodicals is a profession by itself, de-
manding management, publicity, and journalistic skills. The
mimeographed bulletin of office or sales chatter is part of
corporate journalism. So is the chain of twenty-three expertly
produced weekly newspapers of the Ford Motor Company.
And likewise such elegant four-color showpieces, intended to
influence the influential, as The Lamp (Standard Oil of
New Jersey), and Steelways (American Iron and Steel In-
stitute ) .
Despite an immense range of form and content, all have
similar objectives— to cast a favorable light on the organiza-
tion that publishes them. Another common denominator is
that they are not sold but distributed free. Industrial rela-
tions or sales departments often control policy and budget.
The general trend is to recognize corporate journalism as
part of public relations, with a special affinity to publicity
work. Though publicity people may or may not do the edit-
ing, they usually have a finger in the pie. One of their most
useful contributions to the success of a company periodical
of any sort is to spread its readership beyond the confines
of the special group to which it is mainly directed, by getting
parts of its contents published elsewhere.
The corporate journalist who keeps an eye on that wider
Corporate Journalism 179
audience is in good company. Poor Richard's Almanak, begun
by Benjamin Franklin in 1732 to promote his printing busi-
ness, accomplished its purpose and has been widely quoted
ever since. The Franklin Printing Company is still in busi-
ness, too. System, originally produced for a manufacturer of
filing equipment, was a lineal ancestor of Business Week.
Printers' Ink, which now publishes a directory of house
magazines, used to be one itself.
American industry spends over $100 million a year to
produce and distribute more than 10,000 company period-
icals. Most are for employees. Other effective ones go to
distributors and dealers; customers, present and prospective;
or people of influence in religious, civic, and governmental
affairs, finance, and the general economy.
The corporate journalist about to launch a periodical, or
newly put in charge of an existing one, takes a great step
ahead when he puts down on paper the purposes or objec-
tives he intends to pursue. This does away with vagueness.
If he gains management approval for such a statement, it
becomes his charter and constant reference guide.
Ten essential services that an employee magazine can per-
form for management are given by Merrick Jackson, a highly
regarded leader in corporate journalism, as follows:
1. To keep employees informed of company policies, practices
2. To promote understanding between management and em-
ployees, thereby reducing friction and dissension.
3. To let employees know about the economics of the com-
pany's business and their role in it.
180 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
4. To aid in bringing together management and employees
as a family with mutual interests and aims.
5. To limit the harmfulness of incorrect and misleading state-
ments from other sources, and to spike rumors.
6. To encourage greater participation in company programs.
7. To build community regard for the company.
8. To further favorable press relations.
9. To help reduce lost man-hours through accident, illness
10. To build a friendly feeling toward the company on the
part of parents and wives of employees.
In an outline for house periodicals meant for a completely
different audience, the customer and prospect, Edward Stern
and Company lists these four objectives:
1. Pin-point the prospect.
2. Identify the company which produces the publication.
3. See or speak to the man the salesman meets.
4. Speak to the man the salesman cannot see.
On the masthead of Steelways, a bimonthly publication
sent to men and women in public and community life, this
fourfold purpose is stated:
1. To foster a better understanding of the steel industry.
2. To interpret the industry's practices and problems and to
report its technical progress.
3. To describe the role of steel in our social and economic life.
4. To add strength and conviction to the American way of
Succinctly the Rouge News of the Ford Motor Company
expresses its purpose: "To all men and women of the Rouge
plant, as a service to keep them informed on company
policies, plans and activities."
Corporate Journalism 181
CHARACTER OF THE PERIODICAL
In addition to a central purpose, every periodical gains a
character, a special flavor, or look, by which it is recognized
as a familiar friend. The title helps to establish this impres-
sion; so does the fact that the periodical is the same size
every time. The front page or cover changes with each issue
but still is recognizable. The reader may not know why, but
the editor does. He uses type faces of the same general
"family." He does not choose headlines in one issue set in a
Cheltenham or Garamond face, in the next switch to sans-
serifs such as Futura or Kabel, and then in the third go
quaint with DeVinne or Cloister Text. Certainly few readers
will recall the type treatment consciously, but they will be
irritated if it is not consistent. Nor does the good editor go
on a type spree in a single issue, with hand-set script head-
lines battling with Girder, or Caslon bold bludgeoning its
way for attention alongside a delicate Metro.
To trust to the printers judgment is unfair to most printers.
This statement demands explanation, for printers, it is well
known, make a daily practice of saving editors' skins in all
branches of the graphic arts. Printers obviously know a great
deal about type faces. The difficulty is that in their varied
jobs, including advertising for all sort of printed media, they
may be tempted to use a face, much praised when employed
for one purpose, in a periodical intended for a totally differ-
It is the editor's, not the printer's responsibility, to choose
appropriate types. Many large printing establishments do
have designers adept in layout of publications, and these
skillful specialists come up with fine results. A professional
182 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
designer, whether or not connected with a printing house,
should be consulted before the first issue is made up or any
radical change in the character of the periodical carried out.
Other elements besides title and typographical treatment
go into making the individual character of the periodical.
The first look at a pretty girl is what starts something, and
so it should be with the publication. The reader should want
to get better acquainted. If the newspaper format is used,
an attractive front page will command interest. Bull's-eye
decorations, headlines that splash all over the page, and
jarring use of color get attention, but that only means shock,
not attractiveness. A page crowded with little stories and
bristling with headlines offers nothing substantial. At the
other extreme, expanses of gray-looking body type warn
that the paper is wordy.
How, then, strike a balance? Here is a practical tip: come
close to the make-up of the front page of the paper most of
your readers like best. Do not slavishly follow the daily
paper, tone yours down a bit in comparison, but by and
large adapt your fare to the familiar and palatable recipe
the daily offers.
For example: If the local daily carries a capsule of in-
formation in the boxes alongside the name of the paper, do
something similar. If it usually runs a picture or two on Page
One, follow suit. If there is a column of comment, broken
up into many small paragraphs without separate headings,
that is a good cue. If space at the bottom of the page often
is given over to a feature story with a two- or three-column
head, that's a good place for your features. You need not
Corporate Journalism 183
strain to serve up something odd; all your dish requires is a
bit of seasoning and flavor that are your own.
In the magazine format, the front cover gives even better
opportunity to stamp the periodical with its own character.
Here consistency truly is a jewel. Decide upon the treat-
ment, and stick to it, at least for several issues in a row. Keep
the title in the same place each time. If you like a single
picture, filling most of the cover, stay with that idea for
a while; don't use four pictures one issue, and only one the
next. As time goes on, there will be plenty of opportunity
for variations. The important thing is identification in the
reader's mind. When he sees the publication, he should rec-
No matter what the form used, orderly arrangement of
content also helps to establish character. Suppose you plan
an editorial for each issue. Keep it in the same place, with
the same type treatment. If you have departments, such as
sports, vital statistics, safety, or awards and promotions, make
it easy for the reader to find them. Before you know it, he'll
be used to the publication and will form the habit of turning
to the cartoon, the sales record, or whatever else interests
him most, as soon as he picks up the publication. When that
happens, you've got him hooked, he's a constant reader.
In an analysis of 399 employee magazines made in 1948 bv
the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, over 120 topics
were listed as having been used by four or more of the pub-
lications. They fell into these categories:
Efforts to increase efficiency.
184 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Messages from executives.
General information about the company.
Financial information about the company.
Information about the industry.
Company services for employees.
Group activities of employees.
Recognition of employees.
Promotion of health and safety.
News of outside happenings.
Material for wives and children.
It is significant that the largest single classification, ap-
pearing in 348 of the magazines, was personals. The next
was athletics, in 268; then came clubs and recreation, in 252.
Smart editors, in other words, devote major attention to the
activities of employees considered as human beings, not as
part of the production machine.
The trend in recent years has been to diminish the use of
personals, but not of stories about people and their activities.
Against this background of humanized treatment, the
topics in which the company has great interest, such as
efforts to increase efficiency, are well received. But a com-
pany publication devoted chiefly to what employees ought
to do would find few constant readers.
The dealer or customer publication is far more impersonal,
but here, too, the human touch can be effective. For example,
Corporate Journalism 185
the Red Circle of Lehigh Structural Steel Company, sent to
both employees and customers, stressed the quality of a big
construction job by showing, with a picture of the steel
skeleton, one of the "team" of production workers respon-
sible. The intent, successfully carried out, was to impress the
customer with the fact that here was a group of experts in
shop and field, and to give recognition to employees for co-
operative effort. The subtle effectiveness of this double-
barreled picture story lay in the fact that the company did
not boast about its product, but about its men and women,
leaving the implication that such a team would be sure to
turn out good work.
Returning to the analysis of 399 magazines, the present
writers beg leave to inject their own prejudices on two topics.
There were sixty-six publications that carried messages from
executives. It is only the exceptional company head whose
writings are followed with interest by most employees, and
so it is notorious that the "president's page" is the one most
readily skipped in most issues. Exceptions granted, the real
reason for printing most of the oracular pronouncements in
such pages is to butter up the boss. Unless he insists, w T e
prefer to see his words only when he has something interest-
ing to say, and not in routine appearance.
A second prejudice is more deep-seated. It is against the
gossipy kind of personals, the "Stoop and Snoop" column that
deals in innuendo, heavy-handed facetiousness, and some-
times actual slander. This kind of item diminishes the pres-
tige and effectiveness of any company periodical and fails to
follow the real purpose, which, remember, is to cast a favor-
186 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
able light on the organization. Legitimate personals, written
in a chatty way, are rightly popular. If the editor uses a
simple touchstone, he will never offend good taste : "Will the
story hurt anybody's feelings?" If there is suspicion that it
may, it should find a place in the wastebasket.
The house-magazine editor who makes dynamic use of his
space achieves results that management recognizes more
readily than the intangibles of improving morale or increas-
ing loyalty. The House Magazine Institute reported, in a
survey conducted in 1952, a typical case:
The personnel department is beginning to suggest articles,
since we successfully forced them to let us help get new employ-
ees through the magazine. We did, too— 200 of them in six months.
Another example, from Stephen D. Smoke, of Hill & Knowl-
ton, Inc., as reported in Publicity Record:
One company conducted a safety glass conservation campaign
in the employee magazine. Numerous pictures illustrated ways
employees broke, lost or misplaced safety glasses, necessitating
replacement at $2 a pair. Editorial material urged greater care
in their use. Safety glasses were being replaced free at a rate of
140 a month. Succeeding months saw the number of pairs mis-
used drop to 86, then 49 and finally 23. Nothing but the employee
magazine was used in the campaign. A saving of $500 was made
in three months.
Customer magazines, mailed freely and sometimes indis-
criminately, reach enormous distribution. Prudential Family
has 2,500,000, Hometown, by Rexall Drug, Inc., 1,000,000,
Corporate Journalism 187
and automobile-company publications are responsible for
about 10,000,000 more. Some have become famous for their
editorial quality, such magazines as Think, by International
Business Machines Corporation, and The Beaver, by the
Hudson's Bay Company. At least one, Woman's Day, grew
from an A & P house magazine to a commercial status, sell-
ing to 3,750,000 customers, carrying advertisements of sup-
pliers to the tune of nine million dollars a year, and directly
competing with other magazines in the women's field.
External house magazines of this scope are interesting as
phenomena and as offering rich markets for properly handled
publicity material from other industrial sources. Oilways,
for example, runs articles about steel, and Steelways runs
articles about oil. Many external magazines are deliberately
restricted in circulation to reach only leaders of opinion.
A breakdown of the distribution of one large external
magazine, Steelways, is given below to indicate how wide the
successive waves of influence can go. The editor of a smaller
company publication will find here not a model but a
stimulus for increasing his own audience.
1,000 government officials, including all senators and repre-
sentatives in Congress, top-ranking administrators in
Washington, and state governors.
3,800 newspaper and magazine writers and editors.
13,000 librarians in city, university, college, and high school.
900 clergymen in steel-producing areas.
4,200 industrialists and business executives.
2,300 professional groups, including economists, engineers,
chemists, metallurgists, attorneys, and others.
500 labor leaders.
5,000 farm organization leaders and county agents.
1,000 women's association leaders.
188 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
1,800 university and college professors.
4,800 teachers in junior and senior high schools.
2,300 key individuals in the steel industry.
15,000 steel-plant community leaders.
Steelways regularly sends out press releases based on its
content. This results in millions of additional impacts on the
public, and in some instances the circulation is world-wide.
One major article, the use of which was carefully charted,
reached a secondary audience of almost 50,000,000 people
through radio and reprint in various publications.
WIDENING THE AUDIENCE
No house magazine is so small that it cannot reach beyond
the plant gates in influence. Distribution by mail to the
homes of employees is largely supplanting other means of
distribution. The practice has increased threefold in the
steel industry in the past few years. This logical step pre-
vents copies from being lost or thrown away without reading.
It links the job and the home. Wives, husbands, parents, and
children of the employee make up the first circle of interested
In a small city, copies also may be sent to schoolteachers,
librarians, civic officials, bankers, doctors, dentists, lawyers,
beauticians, barbers, and others who talk to many persons
each day or whose waiting rooms are normally furnished
with reading matter. Even in large cities, the same kind of
distribution may be made in the plant neighborhood.
The next step, interesting local newspapers and radio sta-
tions, is described in detail in Chapter 16. Beyond the com-
munity, there is opportunity for still greater publicity,
provided the content of the house magazine warrants it.
Corporate Journalism 189
For a company of medium size, a combination of em-
ployee, shareholder, customer, and community distribution
is a practical possibility. A publication planned for this pur-
pose is likely to play down the personal items, and to stress
two main points: that the company provides a good place
to work by treating employees well, and that the type of
employees it attracts turn out superior products.
To make a house magazine interesting to diverse publics
that nevertheless have a common regard for one phase or
another of the company's business calls for unusual editing
ability but is not at all an unreasonable goal. Perhaps the
most unusual of such periodicals is the Shawinigan Journal,
distributed in both Canada and the United States, and carry-
ing text and picture captions in French as well as English,
without interfering with attractiveness of layout or compre-
hensibility to readers in either language. This extreme but
successful example is cited to demonstrate that no editorial
hurdle need be too great for the company that sees a need
of telling its story to more than one audience through the
chapter 14 Industrial Exhibits and
A touch of the old Adam, or spirit of the primordial press
agent, is not a bad attribute when the publicity worker turns
from the higher aspects of his calling to exploit a public
show, display, or exhibit of his company's products. Color,
life, and excitement of the theater are created as the spot-
lights are turned on, the fanfare sounds, and people
push their way through throngs to look upon the latest won-
This may be anything from a group of boy and girl scien-
tists gravely performing experiments in a showcase lab-
oratory to a cross section of a new-model automobile. It may
be as chaste as the formation of artificial snow or as gaudy
as a man-made aurora borealis with accompanying thunder.
Into it may have gone nothing more serious than a new way
to store eggs in a refrigerator; or it may have the heart-
stopping implications of atomic fission. From the publicity
point of view, the industrial display, whatever its nature,
has two main objectives: to intrigue as many spectators as
possible, and to tell the wider public that could not get there
what was going on. To do this, the display must create inter-
est and arouse excitement.
Industrial Exhibits and Press Shows 191
However brilliant or impressive the display, careful, solid,
methodical planning must he behind it. If it is to be perma-
nent, as in a museum, thought must be given to maintenance
after the first occasion on which the public views it. As a
basis for future work, records should be kept of attendance,
comments, tangible returns in new business, publicity ob-
tained, and souvenirs or company literature given out. Ar-
rangements for these and other essential details are best
planned far in advance, for when the rush of the opening
is on, all concerned will be too busy to look after items not
INTRODUCING NEW PRODUCTS
On the national, regional, or local scene, the introduction
of a new product or line of products, or of the new season's
models, should be backed up by a publicity campaign which
complements the advertising and sales-promotion program.
It serves two useful purposes: to arouse advance interest on
the part of distributors, dealers, and customers; and to build
additional prestige for the company. The prestige created
by broad newspaper and magazine publicity has immediate,
practical value in many cases; for instance, in helping to
influence distributors and dealers to take on a new product
with less hesitation than if an approach were made to them
solely through the company's sales department.
The problem of obtaining distribution is often acute,
particularly with a small or new company. Publicitv re-
sulting from press coverage can be used to convince im-
portant outlets that the product will have ready public
acceptance and should be stocked. The large company, such
192 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
as an automobile, refrigerator, or air-conditionaing manu-
facturer, is more likely to inform the dealer organization
first, and sometimes even to ship stock on advance order,
so the product will be available to the public the moment
the news breaks.
Public relations thinking is needed as management makes
its plans. Timing is all-important. The greatest secrecy is
often called for, to prevent a leak of the news which might
diminish later impact. Wise management will instruct pro-
duction, sales, and advertising departments to observe utmost
secrecy until the word is given.
Even when circumstances have forced some prior infor-
mation out to the distributors, it is unwise to permit them
actually to see the new product before it is shown to the
press, if publicity plays any part of the campaign. If a new
product has been shown to hundreds of dealers before the
press is permitted to report it, the news value is seriously
affected. A standard rule has been established that a press
showing is held on the first day, a dealer or distributor show-
ing on the next day. Editors rightly demand news while
it is news, and on this point the public relations and pub-
licity staff stand with the editors. No advertisement showing
the product should appear prior to the first press showing,
or even on the same day. If overzealous sales people force
the issue, they damage the company's standing with the
press, and top management should agree that this is selling
out prestige rather cheaply.
At the press showing a package of publicity materials,
called a press kit, should be available for all press and radio
Industrial Exhibits and Press Shows 193
visitors, and copies should be on hand to send to those in-
vited who could not come. A press kit, whether modest or
elaborate, contains the following essentials:
1. News release based on the press showing, not more
than two pages of typescript, and including brief description
of the product and how it is used, the price, and where it
can be obtained. Editors complain that too many news
handouts are filled with superlatives but never get to the
2. Background memorandum, if appropriate, giving scien-
tific engineering, design, and application data in detail.
This may run from three to a dozen pages, depending on
probable editor interest. The industrial-magazine editor
always wants to know all, no matter how much space he can
devote to the story; bear in mind he may have valuable
later uses for the information.
3. Text of a statement of the highest-ranking company
official present. If the president is not there but a vice presi-
dent is, the statement should be made by the vice president.
This statement should not run more than two pages. The
company official's picture may be included if his statement
is news-making in itself. However, this should never, at an
exhibit or press show, be the only picture given out.
4. Copious pictures of the product. Editors like to make
their own choices. Better to include a dozen pictures than
only one, if the budget will stand it. These pictures should
look different from each other. Human models should be
changed as well as accessory items in the pictures, such as
food, fabrics, etc., and pictures should be taken from various
5. Though not a must, an institutional leaflet or booklet
194 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
on the company may be included. This helps to widen the
editor's knowledge of the company.
The Press Showing
It is advisable to have a photographer on hand, to ac-
commodate editors who will use pictures of the press show-
ing, of company officials present, or of the product. Many
prefer this type of picture to those in the press kit. Not infre-
quently an editor likes to be in a picture, too. He has a public
relations job of his own to perform. A shot of the editor chat-
ting with the top company official, published in that editor's
magazine, is complimentary to both.
On a large panel screen, additional photographs may be
mounted, with captions, each picture bearing a number.
An attendant should be ready to take down orders from
editors for these special pictures, which may include re-
search and production shots of limited but important inter-
est. A reserve supply of prints should be available, either to
hand out then or to send later by mail or messenger.
Guests should register. Editors recognize the sign-up
book as a protection against outsiders' crashing the party.
If careful watch is not kept, strangers can damage the pub-
licity, sometimes innocently. At a stainless-steel exhibit
held on a mezzanine floor, an out-of-town professor wandered
in. A reporter from a metropolitan newspaper got a good
interview on what the professor thought of stainless steel,
but this did not please the exhibit sponsor.
Exhibits of complete product lines may occupy an entire
working day. On such occasions, editors have a choice of
time, which they welcome. Cocktails usually are served
during the showing, depending on local custom, and a buffet
Industrial Exhibits and Press Shows 195
lunch from twelve to two-thirty is appropriate. If a state-
ment is to be made, it should be timed about noon, to protect
the afternoon papers. A late-afternoon showing is equally
acceptable, if only one or two products are to be shown,
and some affairs are held with an evening dinner, though
this is not too popular with most editors and should be
limited to the truly big occasion.
During the exhibit hours, many company executives whose
work relates to the product or line should be present. Some
editors will seek out the research director, others the chief
engineer, others the sales manager. Unlike the formal press
conference or company meeting, the bars are down at a
product showing, and everybody in authority may be inter-
viewed on his aspect of the job. In some cases advance
coaching is necessary, so the export manager will not talk
for publication about engineering, and vice versa.
Because of diversity of interests among editors, some
companies split the press showing into two parts: the wire
services and newspapers for one period; industrial, business,
and household publications for another. The reason is that
the two groups will want different types of information. It is
doubtful that the imagined result is really gained, however,
for in the majority of press showings everybody qualified
to attend is welcomed through an entire session.
If a split does seem desirable, a diplomatic way to handle
it is to invite newsmen at 11 a.m., to stay through lunch,
and industrial and other magazine editors for lunch, to
stay through an afternoon meeting. Only rarely are the sexes
divided, but some exclusive men's clubs, convenient for
press entertainment, do not admit women, as more than one
impetuous publicity man has discovered too late.
196 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
The Single Product
Size and prestige of the company certainly influence the
amount of publicity attention its new products will create.
However, the small business is never squeezed out if it has
something really newsworthy. It is not necessary to resort
to freakish stunts; though the large company can put on
as much of a circus as it chooses without criticism, editors
are more impressed with a smaller concern's efforts if they
For example, Crosley Division of Avco Manufacturing
Corporation exhibited a million dollars in one-dollar bills,
to open a display of its full line and to announce a customer
and dealer contest. A picture of a tasty model inside a huge
refrigerator, stuffing bills into the top of her stocking, was
used in Life. This was about as extreme an instance of circus
press-agentry expertly applied (with cheesecake) to an in-
dustrial product as had been staged for a decade. A new,
unimportant company without a large, established consumer
market and a huge advertising budget would probably have
fared less well.
A small but imaginative company handled its problem
of introducing a new product by a much more conservative
technique. A research scientist of standing attended the press
showing. The scientist explained to the press that the chemi-
cal was not suitable for broad application.
Reporters, editors, and newscasters were shown color
slides of tests held over a period of two or three years. They
were urged to respect the company's desire not to exaggerate
As a result, wire services, syndicates, metropolitan news-
Industrial Exhibits and Press Shows 197
papers, radio networks, and industrial and mass-circulation
magazines publicized the new product, with assurance that
it had a sound basis. Obviously, had the smaller company
tried to achieve this result by merely imitating the clever
press-agent approach of Crosley, its product and its presen-
tation would have been subject to ridicule.
Regional and national trade and industrial shows have
become big business in themselves. The individual company
ordinarily rents floor space and hires professional display
showmen to build the exhibit around a company theme.
The publicity worker for a single exhibiting company is
sometimes abashed at the prospect of getting any mention
in the press of his firm or products because the big show
itself demands major attention, but such a situation is merely
a challenge to his ingenuity. He should by all means work
with the press bureau of the show, supplying news and pic-
tures of his exhibit in the expectation that some of it will
be of value in general publicity. But his activity need not be
limited to this.
The publicity man for a small manufacturer of a rare
metal, lithium, was forewarned that the company could
secure only a tiny booth on the top floor of a four-floor ex-
hibit in a national chemical show. Because of necessary
restrictions on the amount of noise or flashing lights or other
attention-callers permitted, he abandoned plans to outdo
competing exhibitors. He went far afield, but with good
results, by preparing a statement of the remarkable attri-
butes of the product three months ahead of the show and
placing this material, not with editors and writers, but with
198 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
a comic-strip syndicate. Timing was arranged for a sequence
in the comic-page story to include an exciting episode based
on the "mystery metal" at the time the show was to be in
progress. Large blowups were made of the cartoons when
they appeared, and these were used as the main motif in
decorating the booth.
Company officials admitted to certain qualms, since their
purpose was to attract serious-minded potential users of
their product. But the prospect of being "lost" among large
and showy exhibits was so compelling that they acceded to
the publicity plans. As a result, the small lithium exhibit
soon became publicized by word of mouth throughout the
show: metallurgists, engineers, and purchasing agents prov-
ing to be as human and as greatly intrigued as the general
public. With the comic strip appearing daily, the publicity
man seized his opportunity to obtain newspaper and radio
coverage calling attention to the actual exhibit of the
This so-called press-agent stunt was appropriate because
for the time being all exhibitors were in show business, com-
peting for public attention. Timing had been carefully
planned, and the follow-through of publicity to the potential
audience that did not attend the show was not neglected.
Seizing the moment that will gain maximum attention is
one of the primary tenets of show business. If it is done
properly, a certain amount of dignity may be sacrificed with
safety. When President Garfield visited Springfield, Mass.,
the circulation manager of one of the country's most sedate
newspapers handed him a copy as he stepped to the rear
platform of his train. Then, before the President could speak,
the promoter shouted to the crowd, "Read the Springfield
Industrial Exhibits and Press Shows 199
Republican, the newspaper your beloved President holds in
his hand." Though this exercise of the spirit of enterprise
would be considered in bad taste today, it proved a huge suc-
cess, for as the modern press agent might say, the President
"went along with the gag" and gaily waved the paper. (Po-
litically, it supported him.)
THE TIME CAPSULE
Burial of records is at least as old as the Pharaohs, yet it
was turned to account in one of the most spectacular demon-
strations of timing and showmanship in the modern day. Drs.
Einstein and Millikan, together with a coterie of other scien-
tists and famous men, contributed to the interment on the
precise autumnal equinox of 1938 of a Time Capsule, 50
feet underground in Flushing Meadows on Long Island.
With the greatest dignity and pomp a ceremony was held
as this message to world inhabitants 5,000 years thence was
lowered. Fifteen years after the obsequies the Time Cap-
sule was still the subject of publicity, and it may continue
to be for centuries. The conception of a gifted public re-
lations counselor, Dr. G. Edward Pendray, its purpose was
to bring to the attention of industry a new alloy metal, a
combination of silver and copper called Cupaloy. By timing
the burial at a symbolic moment, by linking it with the
projected opening of a World's Fair, and by lifting the work
of the press agent to that of the high-minded scientist, many
millions were made aware of a commercial product. These
millions included the few hundred whom the sponsoring
company sought as customers for its metal.
The secondary effect, of raising the prestige of die com-
pany, brought even more profound and lasting echoes. A
200 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
replica of the Time Capsule with its contents was placed
in the Hayden Planetarium, and a book written for the oc-
casion was deposited in museums and libraries in centers
of learning around the world.
Granted a theme of such universal interest as to attract
the general public, an industrial exhibit may be fashioned to
travel from city to city, attracting crowds at every stop. The
large company or trade association may afford a coast-to-
coast tour on a grandiose scale, but it is more usual to limit
the industrial show to a few stops. These may be main dis-
tribution points for the company's products, such as dis-
trict sales headquarters, and the show may have a secondary
purpose, to demonstrate products to dealers of the region.
A meeting of dealers in connection with the exhibit is often
an apt subject for publicity stories in the local press. On such
an occasion more than a mention of the meeting can be ob-
tained if a high company executive, such as the general sales
manager, is brought in. His talk to the dealers need not be lim-
ited strictly to product. Newspapers like discussions of busi-
ness trends and predictions of future prospects. An out-of-
town man of standing in his industry may be worthy of an
interview or press conference, or at least of a release with
excerpts from his speech. Such a talk obviously should be
plentifully sprinkled with local references.
If a demonstration of products is to be given, the news-
papers may send photographers, and in any case the publicity
man's job is to see to it that the subject is covered pictorially.
News interest can be added by such devices as a visit to the
demonstration by civic leaders, high-school classes, women's
Industrial Exhibits and Press Shows 201
organizations, and others. Always the human factor must
predominate, if editors are to be intrigued.
The Cooperative Show
Another excellent source of publicity is the traveling show
in which a number of businesses cooperate. Chambers of
commerce are helpful in rounding up participants, and
usually a committee is formed to finance, plan, and conduct
a tour of a nearby territory. On this committee the publicity
man plays an important role. With assistance from others,
he arranges dates and reception committees in the communi-
ties to be visited and sees to it that advance publicity, with
pictures, is distributed to the press in those communities.
He also organizes liaison with the press during the visit and
sets up facilities for photographers or for press interviews.
Among his important duties is the preparation of leaflets, in-
vitations, and other literature and supervision of their dis-
In this cooperative effort it is essential to make sure that
all the elements in the exhibit bear on the main theme. Such
a theme might be "Home Building," or "Food Canning and
Storage," or "The Farm Kitchen." As a rule, the theme is
localized, as "What Bigtown Makes," or "You can Buy It in
If stimulation of regional civic pride is a main objective,
the theme may be in line with the permanent slogan of the
New Jersey capital: "Trenton Makes— The World Takes."
Some cities are the heart of a certain industry, as Waterbury
is for brass fabrication, or Pittsburgh for steel production,
or Toledo for glass, and joint promotions for any size of city
with such an asset can be made most effective.
202 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
The publicity worker for a cooperating company obviously
looks after his employer's interests in seeking a fair share of
attention; but, unlike an exhibitor in a big national trade
show, he is expected to refrain from seeking separate pub-
licity on his own. This applies with special force to the large
industrial unit. More is to be gained by emphasizing the
joint nature of the exhibit than by seeking to dominate it.
A certain amount of rivalry for position is bound to take
place behind the scenes, but if this results in an obvious
overplaying of the big company at the expense of the others,
the salutary effect of cooperative effort may be lost or at least
WINDOW AND LOBBY DISPLAYS
For window, lobby, and other semipermanent displays,
the National Association of Manufacturers compiled a useful
plan of operations, of which the following are the main
1. Form a committee to make and carry out essential plans.
Such a committee might include executives of public relations,
advertising, sales, production and industrial relations. In smaller
companies, a committee of three is often adequate.
2. Survey available locations and select the most appropriate.
3. Choose a theme, expressing one or more of the following:
(a) quality of the company's products; (b) varied uses of
products; (c) a company anniversary; (d) a religious, patriotic
or local holiday; ( e ) the traditional enterprise system of America.
4. Develop the display to carry out the idea expressed by the
theme. Some companies have found it helpful to include the
services of professional decorator or company specializing in
industrial showmanship, together with such company workers as
artists, signwriters, carpenters, etc.
Industrial Exhibits and Press Shows 203
The variety of possible subjects is almost endless but most
will be comprised in one or another of the following cate-
A demonstrator, such as an operator working at his ma-
Any interesting moving device, including models and
A continuous motion picture or fllmstrip shown with the
use of a rear-view automatic projector, or with a combination
machine containing both projector and screen.
Examples of products made by old manufacturing tech-
niques compared to new products, and accompanied by de-
Products and parts shown in various stages of manufacture.
Prizes, awards, and trophies.
Photographs showing scenes from company history; how
raw materials are obtained and shipped; steps in manufac-
ture; plants, offices, recreational, and social activities of
employees; distribution and uses of products, including mili-
chapter 15 Exploring for Hidden Treasure
A critic described public relations people as "high priests
of the superficial/' Unfair, no doubt, but soul-searching may
reveal a half-truth in the wry comment. Instead of angrily
attempting to counter the charge, it may be helpful to
examine ways to rob it of its barb. Among the best is to
demonstrate that it does not apply to all one's own work.
Ephemeral news and entertainment of the day play just
as legitimate a part in publicity and public relations activi-
ties as they do in other fields; without them we should pass
sorry lives. There is some danger in pretentiousness, pro-
claiming with a solemn air that our purpose and practice are
always exalted; too easily it can be shown that they are not.
It is when professional people lose the grace of humor
and take themselves too seriously that they become vulner-
able. There is nothing shameful about trying to sell goods
through publicity, so it were better to admit with candor that
this is among our aims, that our work is mundane, and that
the commercial side of the business has a right to expect
Industry fortunately is not so engrossed in immediate
profit and volume that long-range goals of making a genuine
contribution to the economy are shunned. The opposite is
true. By no means have all the social gains in this generation
Exploring for Hidden Treasure 205
been wrested from unwilling industrialists. Billions freely
spent in scientific research and in education have done far
more than develop new products. Administrative time and
talent bestowed without award on governmental and civic
projects is beyond computation. There is reason for honest
pride in achievement. Identification of an individual company
with a great event for which it has whole or partial responsi-
bility is not only desirable, but in the public interest, and to
publicize this identification is a public service.
Why, then, the charge of superficiality? It is based not only
on the frothy publicity that is bound to be part and parcel
of business promotion, but on the tendency of all publicity
to dramatize. Certainly dramatization is not new, but the
ability to multiply its effect by swift communication is a
development of our own times. Herein lies the preoccupation
of most publicity workers with the immediate. Each new
medium of communication makes its own demands and calls
for adaptation of techniques to its own special needs. Just to
keep abreast of the new requires no little effort or industri-
Public relations fortunately can go deeper if it wants to,
and it often does. Only recently has a trend developed to do
more than engage in competition for the momentary flash of
attention and to use publicity and the other tools of public
relations to gain a more significant and more lasting impact.
Most publicity, by its nature, must deal with the present
or look toward the future. Yet both have greater value when
shown against a backdrop of the past. From a short anecdote
to a two-volume company history, the past struggles and
achievements of American industry are beginning to be pub-
licized as never before. Inevitably the great, rich companies
206 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
have taken the lead. Yet the smaller one, aggressive and
alert as it must be for present progress, has a like opportunity
to exploit the treasures hidden by years.
PUBLICITY FROM THE PAST
A small manufacturer, for example, learned that his first
product, a pump, still was in operation- after thirty years of
constant use. Pictures of the old machines, a readily given
tribute by the user, and a picture of the modern streamlined
model made an excellent story for the industrial press. When
one of the mechanics who had helped install the original
pump took his first airplane ride to the site to "inspect" it,
this added the human flavor that gave the story emotional
A woman working at a drafting board in a Philadelphia
plant was discovered to be a descendant of the builder of
the Monitor, famous naval ironclad. Plans over which she
labored were for a turbine for a new naval vessel. The link
to the past, the aspect of family tradition still carrying on,
appealed to sentiment, and when she was chosen to launch
the destroyer escort Ericsson, the public effect was far from
Walter Chrysler depositing his carpenter tools in the tower
of the skyscraper named for him; The Saturday Evening
Post carrying a portrait of Ben Franklin as a front cover to
celebrate his birth date each year; the people of Middletown,
Ohio, observing Verity Day annually to honor a great human-
ist, as well as steelmaker, whose industry remains a major
factor in the community's economy— such phenomena indi-
cate a yearning by the public for identification with the roots
of our present existence.
Exploring for Hidden Treasure 207
A publicity worker feels no sense of triviality when he
engages in an activity connected with history, for he deals
with lasting and significant values, not expressible on the
company's balance sheet, perhaps, but among its prized as-
LIFE AND TIMES OF A COMPANY
Invasion of a rural county on the Eastern Seaboard by
a company about to build a factory posed a series of problems
that management wisely decided could be resolved only by
public relations planning. The case was aggravated by the
fact that another industry established in a nearby village
a generation ago had imported unskilled laborers of an un-
desirable type, paid low wages, and built a high wire fence
around its property. Though the chamber of commerce had
at first boosted the coming of the original industry, the
county had not been too unhappy when the project failed
and left only a crumbling ruin as its memento. Memories
are long in this historic area, so the fresh proposal met with
little local enthusiasm.
In addition, the new plant was for the manufacture of
chemicals, which implied the danger of polluting a stream
where fish spawned— and many county men pieced out
their living from the land by commercial fishing at certain
times of the year. A chemical works belching forth nauseous
fumes, moreover, might drive away the summer populace,
which brought considerable revenue to several nearbv
towns along the shore. Difficulties were increased bv the
fact that the plant was a unit of a European-owned enter-
prise, and in this county even people from out of the state,
though treated civilly, still were regarded as foreigners.
208 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
What seemed a culmination of troubles occurred just as word
began to get around that specific sites were being considered.
An explosion in a chemical works 60 miles away terrified
villagers and their families.
To a large extent, fears were allayed by honest, forthright
statement, including a guarantee of no water pollution and
explanation that the chemicals to be made were mostly
though not entirely inert and nonflammable. Months were
deliberately taken to inform editors of weekly newspapers,
educators, clergymen, bankers, and local merchants as to
company labor policies. It was pointed out that local workers
would be hired except for technical personnel, fair wages
paid, and social benefits such as hospitalization, group in-
surance, and pensions offered.
Then the company took advantage of two great assets.
Another of its plants was located in the same state, a most
reassuring factor; and it was an old company, founded
nearly a century before. The influence of these favorable as-
pects was marked. The company decided that they should
furnish its theme in "selling" the community on its advent.
Spot time was bought on regional radio stations and pub-
licity material supplied to area newspapers, stressing that
this was really a neighbor company already and that because
of its solidity through the years management had learned
how to live in harmony with others.
This drawing upon the company's past was effective, in a
community itself nearly three centuries old. To the younger
generation the idea of year-round employment near home,
training for careers, and other company benefits made strong
appeal. By isolating the plant in the center of large acreage
any advance criticism of air pollution or unsightliness was
Exploring for Hidden Treasure 209
avoided. To culminate its good-will efforts, the company
produced a small book devoted to the history of both the
community and the world-wide enterprise that had come
to be a new "citizen." In this historical sketch, the company
was described in terms of early struggle, contribution to
American progress and the world market which the products
to be made in the county would serve. Every link of common
interest was forged.
This was a case of dispelling the mystery that often sur-
rounds the coming of a new industry, taking community
leaders into confidence, and by use of a great asset, a cen-
tury of existence, gaining an emotional rapport with people
who might well have remained hostile had they been differ-
AGE IMPLIES GOOD MANAGEMENT
Not every company can boast a history of 100 years. Yet
many twenty-five years old and more have an excellent op-
portunity to make use of a fine past against which present-
day progress can be reflected. Age also can be dramatized to
customers, shareholders, and others with telling emphasis.
Survival of a company for a generation or longer implies
good management and regard for reputation. It is not
enough, however, merely to state the year of the founding,
or to produce a silver- or golden-anniversary publication,
valuable though these are. The theme of consistent quality
production for many years is worthy constant exploitation
For example, a yearly examination is made of the stain-
less-steel mullions on the Empire State Building, by a quali-
fied committee, to determine whether the rain of soot and
210 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
enveloping noxious gases in the New York City atmosphere
have damaged the material. For purely maintenance pur-
poses, such an inspection every five years would probably
suffice, but the ritual is faithfully carried out annually, with
great publicity benefit to the maker of the decorative
To add interest to its own history, the Judson Pacific-
Murphy Corporation produced a pictorial brochure showing
scenes of old San Francisco, including but not entirely de-
voted to buildings for which the company had fabricated
structural steel. The booklet was highly prized for its general
historic content. The part the company had played in the
growth of the city was not neglected, but neither was it
blatantly forced upon the reader, and thus its permanent
impact was deepened.
THE FIRST IRONWORKS
Perhaps the most elaborate exploitation of history for the
sake of industrial publicity was the reconstruction under-
taken in 1949 of a colonial ironworks located on the bank of
the Saugus River 10 miles north of Boston. Through Ameri-
can Iron and Steel Institute, the entire steelmaking industry
financed the restoration, calling in the services of historian,
archaeologist, and geologist as well as those of architect and
builder. Intended as a shrine to industrial pioneers, the first
ironworks had an amazing effect on several hundred indus-
trial companies whose managements had seldom given a
passing thought to history.
Thus individual companies were enabled to benefit from
an all-industry enterprise with which all could be identified.
Manufacturers were stimulated to tell not only the story
Exploring for Hidden Treasure 211
of the first ironworks, but that of their own companies. In
the course of this publicity work, many worth-while but
forgotten accomplishments were brought to light. Those
who make nails, or wire, or wrought-iron articles or castings,
were impelled to discover whether their own companies had
made a contribution to the art of ironmaking and steelmaking
in past years. They gained their share of publicity, a great
store of knowledge was added, and impetus was given to
the scholary work of preserving invaluable records that
otherwise might have been discarded.
The restoration at Saugus was in line with an awakened
consciousness of the American industrial heritage, a con-
sciousness that also had reverberations in other industries.
Old ironworks located elsewhere had been preserved by
government agencies, as tourist stops of interest. But when
industry turned its might to the most ancient blast furnace
of which there was a respectable amount of remains, a new
force in recognition of the past was created. Our interest
here lies not so much in what one entire industry did, but
in the publicity capital it afforded to hundreds of individual
companies, with from less than 100 to more than 100,000
DIGGING IN YOUR OWN ARCHIVES
It is not necessary to wait for du Pont, the Aluminum
Company of America, or any major unit in your own industry
to pull the switch. You can make a start in your own com-
pany, to great benefit. While Standard Oil (N.J.) engaged
a research staff at Harvard to make an exhaustive studv of its
history, a single college instructor was at work on company
records of a small Virginia concern that possessed a parallel
212 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
if not equal interest in its own past. Size of the company is
not necessarily of first importance.
Here and there evidences are apparent of this new recog-
nition of a publicity asset. Many industries contain excellent
potentials in popular interest, for example Florida citrus
fruit, air conditioning, New England commercial fisheries,
and a score more fascinating industries in need of public ac-
ceptance and deserving of public acclaim because of their
contributions to our economic and social life.
Joint efforts by trade associations are desirable, but here
again there is no need for the publicity man for an individual
company to wait for collaborative effort. One of the indus-
tries concerned with health has been trying since 1937 to
get its rich and impressive story told as a jointly financed
project, but the basic research had not even been started in
late 1953; nothing but committee discussions. In the indi-
vidual company there is normally less lethargy.
WAYS TO USE HISTORICAL MATERIAL
News was described by Negley Cochran, a forceful
Scripps-Howard editor, as "what hasn't been told.*' The
apothegm applies with precision to information about early
days of a company. Few in the present generation, for ex-
ample, know that John N. Willys set up his first automobile
assembly line in a tent, that inquisitive George Westinghousc
drilled in his backyard in Pittsburgh and struck oil, or that
Louis K. Liggett founded his fortune on something he found
in a wastebasket. It is not needful to publish a tome about
a business to capture public interest in its colorful past.
Space advertising, company brochures and magazines, and
reports to shareholders, radio commentators, press colum-
Exploring for Hidden Treasure 213
nists, and editorial writers provide outlets for a flow of
historical material that can build prestige more enduring
than any statement of present profits or plant expansion.
The publicity man who digs deeply for the buried treasures
in his own company's archives can perform a service that is
far from superficial in its net effect.
VITAMINS IN OLD PRODUCTS
In 1953, Cosmopolitan magazine published an article on
the eruption of Krakatao in 1883, an event of which pre-
sumably few of its present-day readers had heard. Shrewd
editors linked it by comparison to man's efforts at destruction
with the atomic bomb, thus giving the story a modern twist.
They recognized that news is "what hasn't been told." This
is just as true of news of industry as in any other walk of
What new treatment can a publicity man give an old
product to make it newsworthy? Here are examples, pre-
sented as stimuli to exploration:
1. An installation of "reverse refrigeration," in which cool-
ing apparatus was rigged up to provide heat, had been made
in a Connecticut office building twenty-five years ago. When
an appliance manufacturer was about to launch a home imit
for both heating and cooling, his publicity man illustrated
the story with pictures of the old building, to show that the
principle had been successfully used for a quarter century.
This added great stability to the appliance manufacturer's
2. A manufacturer of metal joists ripped plaster and
woodwork from a Pittsburgh residence to show that the
joists had stood up for fifty years. Photographers were pres-
214 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
ent, of course. Their pictures were used to convince build-
ing authorities in other cities that restrictive code provisions
should be changed.
3. For several years manufacturers had carried on small-
scale demonstrations of an ultraviolet lamp, and had gained
half-hearted acquiescence for their claims. Then one com-
pany installed the lamps in barracks where 2,000 enlisted
men lived, and proved the point in one season, by dramatic
use of an old product.
HISTORY NEED NOT BE HEAVY
The ledger of a Toledo company for 1870, listing potatoes
at 25 cents a bushel and other items in proportion, was the
source of a publicity story that drew deserved chuckles and
at the same time reminded the public of the age of the es-
tablishment. A department store discovered a dozen pairs
of high-button shoes, neglected in a stockroom for thirty
years. A publicity story brought a rain of requests to pur-
chase the shoes; the newspaper began a search for the oldest
unworn shoes in town; this recognition of publicity possibili-
ties, not the shoes themselves, was the treasure.
A touch of quaintness is the common denominator of such
publicity. Anything in company history twenty-five years
away is usually safe to use, and suitable if it is different
enough from present ways to appeal to the sense of whimsey.
HISTORY NEED NOT BE ANCIENT
The more recent past also can be productive. The Empire
State Building dates only from 1930, yet is considered worthy
of news and feature attention year after year. There is a
temptation, after a well-done publicity job, to put the subject
Exploring for Hidden Treasure 215
aside until it has become really historic. But to look into
files of the past two to five years can be just as rewarding as
to mole through those of the founder's day.
Anniversaries are important, not only those of companies,
but of news happenings. An excellent illustration is the ex-
perience of the Manhattan Life Insurance Company, whose
public relations counsel, Wendell Buck, found the seed of a
possible story in old records. A policyholder was about to
reach the age of ninety-six, when his insurance proceeds
would be paid to him in full. A light note was needed in the
publicity. Mr. Buck created it by playing up the gaffer's joy
at having "fooled the company" by outliving his policy. This
story gained several million circulation. But the real divi-
dend to the company came when on the anniversary each
year until the policyholder's death, press releases again re-
minded the public that he still was enjoying his big joke.
Most publicity workers would have been content with the
first year's results and thus sacrificed the impressive later
The millionth bank account, the ten-millionth auto, the
big round number of anything makes news for no particular
reason, but it does give the desirable patina of age and re-
liability to the sponsoring company. Yet modern publicitv
men should do better than imitate this hardy perennial. A
story of a wedding in a balloon is a press-agent stunt, but
one about how the house, car, government bond, or other
prize given the couple is being used a year later has enough
social significance to lift it from the stunt class.
The people made famous for a day by publicity are not
obliterated from public memory in twelve months, yet it
is the rare publicity worker who is diligent enough to follow
216 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
through. When he does so, he appeals to a much deeper emo-
tion than the casual interest aroused by the first release. He
answers the question "What was the end of the story?" Did
Cinderella and the Prince really live happily ever after?
The child who by grace of an airline publicity man was
flown across the continent for an emergency operation— did
she get well? Did the scholarship winner make a notable
record in college?
Publicity stories that leave reader interest dangling, that
raise questions nobody is ever going to answer, are half done.
These are the stories that label their creators "high priests
of the superficial." A month, a year, five years, is not too
much elapsed time to tell the public the rest of the story,
to show that your company did not seek solely to exploit
itself; that its interest in the human beings it used for its
publicity gain was lasting and sincere.
chapter 16 Community Relations: An
Active participation in the life of the community of which it is
a part is one of the soundest investments that any steel company
If it were carried on the company's books, it might well be
labeled-The Good Neighbor Project." But it is not an invest-
ment in the ordinary sense. It is an investment in human rela-
tions, and one that will pay long-term returns in public goodwill
that cannot be measured by any yardstick, so limitless are its
That statement by American Iron and Steel Institute ex-
presses a philosophy in terms businessmen can understand
and appreciate. A booklet from The Borden Company is in
the same spirit, as its title indicates: Playing Host: How to
Make Plant Tours and Open House Pay Off. Metropolitan
Life Insurance Company, after questioning fifty companies,
summarizes its findings:
It is important to any company to have its neighbors feel
friendly toward it. And an increasing number of companies con-
sider community relations the keystone of their public relations
Yet big business invented no new devices, plowed no new
furrows in this field, developed no new ways of neighborli-
218 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
ness. What it practices has largely been learned from small
business, and there still is much to learn. The main contribu-
tion by big business has been through its genius in organizing
and standardizing community relations functions, and will-
ingness to make its techniques available to every business
and industry farseeing enough to use them.
Community relations embraces such matters as contribu-
tions to charities and dealings with the clergy, welfare
workers, educators, editors, women's groups, men's service
clubs, and public officials in every phase of the social obliga-
tions of business. Business owners a generation ago (with
exceptions ) would have scoffed at a description of this work
as an "investment." Now it is recognized as a condition not
only for prosperity but for survival. The hard-boiled attitude,
with high fences and signs reading "Keep Out. This Means
You," has given way to the hard-headed, long-headed con-
cept, such as is expressed by General Electric:
General Electric realizes its obligation to conduct a sound and
profitable operation in order to provide jobs and perform effec-
tively as a corporate citizen in the community.
A direct link of good community relations to profits is not
limited to General Electric or any of the far-flung major
industries with plants in may states. Any sound, small, lo-
cally owned and operated company, though it may have
but one factory or store, in one town, and a market limited to
a few counties, can subscribe equally well to G.E.'s state-
ment of community relations policy:
1. To aid management in being and becoming known as a
Community Relations: An Investment 219
2. To show how our company provides good jobs that circu-
late good pay in the community.
3. To be a good neighbor and active corporate citizen, and to
be known as such.
4. To encourage the purchase of products locally.
5. To encourage economic education in the communities.
6. To encourage our community neighbors to become informed
and active citizens.
After five years' experience with a planned community re-
lations program, General Electric commented:
This was the real pay-off! Unlike 1946, there were no clergy-
men in the picket lines [i.e., during a strike]. Merchants did not
go against us. Newspapers did not run stories and editorials
against us. Most of them knew about our offer and urged the
union to accept it.
Here are some more benefits from a planned community rela-
1. Better employees, resulting in greater productivity.
2. Better attitude toward company, by employees and our
3. Better climate in the community for the company.
4. More sales of our products.
5. Continuous profits— with resulting good for all.
A NO-BUDGET PROGRAM
So that is what big business means in describing com-
munity relations as an "investment." But how about the
small company with little money to spend on such activities?
The small company is not precluded by costs from the
benefits of good public relations, Thomas D. Yutzv, New
York public relations counselor for industries, told a lecture
audience. "In fact," he added, "a good public relations poliev
can be put into effect without the allocation of funds to it
220 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
specifically." He furnished an example in what one small
textile mill does, although it does not have a community
relations budget as such:
1. Instructs its switchboard operator on courteous tele-
phone answering and service.
2. Instructs its receptionist, who also handles typing and
some clerical duties, on how to receive each visitor courte-
ously and fill his requests as promptly as possible.
3. Makes certain that when the local newspaper calls on
the phone or sends a reporter, there is someone on hand to
give a courteous answer and, unless it is confidential, to
give whatever information the paper wants. If the informa-
tion is regarded as confidential, this is explained to the re-
porter, with the reasons why. Great care is taken as a matter
of policy to avoid any feeling by the reporter that he is
"being given the run-around/'
4. The president of the company and the superintendent
of the mill make themselves available to give talks about
textiles whenever requested by some local group.
5. Small groups of townspeople, such as teachers, minis-
ters, merchants, and community officials, are invited from
time to time to visit the mill. By keeping the groups small no
elaborate preparations are required for these visits. Each
tour, however, is preceded by a brief explanation by the
president or superintendent as to what the visitors are about
6. All company personnel are encouraged to participate
in community affairs.
7. The yard around the mill is always kept tidy with
flowers, and shrubbery has been planted to make the prem-
ises more attractive.
Community Relations: An Investment 221
8. A little lumber, a little paint, and some effort resulted
in neat signs to identify the mill for visitors and passers-by.
"These are the little things," Mr. Yutzy commented, "that
make for good relations. This company is giving attention to
the most vital points of contact with the public." The point is
well taken. First things should come first. A large money
appropriation cannot supplant essential good company man-
ners. But with a modest one, and sincerity of purpose, a
community relations program can more than pay its way.
STEPS IN THE INVESTMENT
Because a Family Day, Open House, or some other spec-
tacular event has been successful elsewhere or looks like a
good stunt that management would be willing to stage is not
reason enough for proposing or recommending it. Every
community activity is an investment, demanding prudence,
planning, completeness, follow-through, and ultimate good-
will return. It should have an objective. Until you can put
that objective into a single sentence, you are not ready even
for preliminary activity. It need not be grandiose; in fact,
the more dollars-and-cents character it has, the sounder its
appeal. Examine the following list of objectives. Each was
accomplished by using one or more community relations
techniques. Without the objectives, however, use of the
techniques would have been wasteful of company funds.
To quiet rumors that the plant was to be moved out of
To get fairer consideration by the city council.
To keep country boys from taking jobs in a big city.
To convince state officials the plant was observing sanitary
and labor laws.
222 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
To cut down traffic accidents near the plant.
To increase productivity.
To lessen the rate of labor turnover.
To justify Sunday operation.
To prevent hostility when new management stepped in.
To prevent a strike.
To heal bitterness (and loss of production) after a pro-
To put an end to a "whispering campaign."
At times a management cannot pin-point objectives but
has a genuine impression that all is not well, that merchants
are unfriendly, civic leaders standoffish, police and other
public officials harsh and hostile. The cure for any such
conditions or a combination of them is not to make a big
splash or a sudden gesture of cooperation, but to engage in
a thorough study of the situation.
This can be done professionally by a number of research
organizations, which specialize in discovering the true at-
titudes of employees, neighbors, customers, or any other
group. Employers in Allegheny County, Pa., were somewhat
amazed to learn as the result of such a survey among min-
isters that 90 per cent of them were discussing social and
economic issues in their sermons; 64 per cent did counseling
work in such fields as labor-management relations, in which
their social attitudes were conveyed to others as a basis for
action. The ministerial group was reaching all levels of so-
ciety, with 61 per cent of their churches centered in below-
average-income communities. On the basis of this survey,
intelligent programs were instituted, with the objective of
acquainting the ministers more intimately with day-to-day
operations of the county's industrial plants.
Community Relations: An Investment 223
No matter what the problem outside the factory walls, it
has ramifications within. The first public in the community
is obviously the employees themselves. With union sanction
and often active help, it is possible for outside expert opinion
surveyors to get at the heart of dissatisfaction. This may be
seemingly as trivial as a thwarted desire to listen to world-
series baseball games; or the company may be blamed for
something about which it has not been notified, such as a
new parking regulation affecting streets near the plant. Anger
over small things may burn slowly, but it also may flare up
destructively. Gaining a knowledge of what lies behind un-
friendliness, in shop or city, is essential as a first step.
When management already sees the need of a compre-
hensive program of community relations, it still wants the
facts— from all elements in the community and bearing on
the specific relations of each. Time and money can be saved
by taking a leaf from the book of the big concerns, most of
which learned to invest in community relations the hard
way, after a time of trouble.
General Electric frankly says:
During the 1946 strike the company suddenly learned that
many groups in the local communities distrusted its aims and
objectives. The company discovered local opposition from one
mayor who openly supported the strike; one city council passed
a resolution supporting strikers; several stores removed G.E.
products from their shelves.
The way G.E. tackled the problem after the strike is
adaptable to other businesses, of any size:
The first step is to conduct opinion surveys in our plant com-
munities. This provides the opportunity to obtain specific "likes"
and "dislikes" from our neighbors. . . . We also learned that
224 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
each employee mixes regularly outside the plant with approxi-
mately 50 people— members of his family, his immediate neigh-
bors, his church, clubs, and so on. What outsiders think about the
company necessarily modifies or strengthens the opinions held
In the next chapter the principal methods of gaining
and keeping community good will will be outlined. Before
employing any of them, the two essential preliminaries
should be well in hand: an objective so specific it can be
stated in one sentence, and possession of the facts as to what
present community attitudes actually are. There is advan-
tage in employing, when feasible, an outside organization
to make the opinion survey, because it is likely to be more
objective than one performed by company personnel alone.
SOME INDUSTRIAL MYTHS
In a savage tribe, a taboo is put on certain words or
actions, prohibiting their use. Civilized people as well live
under fear of their own taboos. The folklore of industry has
more than its share. Too often taboos are tolerated and even
encouraged without penetrating examination, yet when the
light strikes them, they disappear. Industries may be pre-
vented from employing the dynamics of an aggressive com-
munity relations program because of inhibitions caused by
these fancied restrictions.
Myth No. 1. That communities always resent absentee
ownership and direction. On the contrary, pride often can
be aroused by identification with a great corporation, through
establishment of a branch plant. When Westinghouse opened
a factory in Fairmont, W. Va., for production of fluorescent
lamps, an outpouring of 40,000 persons welcomed the new
industry, 10,000 more than the city's population. This was
Community Relations: An Investment 225
due to a planned program begun a year beforehand, worked
out in meticulous detail by the publicity department, and
overlooking nobody. In ensuing years the company has been
at pains to continue cultivation of the good will engendered
on the red-letter day.
T. R. Mullen, president of Lehigh Structural Steel Com-
pany (500 employees) of Allentown, Pa., has resided in
Brooklyn, N.Y., all his life; yet the company is regarded as
one of the leading "corporate citizens" of Allentown, be-
cause of his leadership. Though aware of the taboo against
nonresident company heads, Mullen decided to ignore it.
But he likewise determined to earn public acceptance of the
company as a good neighbor. Significantly, he sought out
professional community relations counsel, in the belief that
principles he had observed in big business could be applied
to his own concern.
The following accomplishments were chalked up in the
first thirty months of the project:
Tenure of wastelands adjoining the steel shops was turned
over to the city for a park. Citizens of all ages, from the
mayor down, lent a hand, moving earth, pouring cement,
planting trees and shrubs, installing water lines, and build-
ing a bandstand. Hundreds who had not know T n where the
plant was located got their first impression, a good one, by
visiting the park.
A philanthropic foundation was incorporated, providing
scholarship funds through competitions in high schools of
the area. The annual award ceremonies are a civic event of
Cooperative pre-engineering courses were established in
high schools, to train future potential employees.
226 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Engineering-college groups from a dozen technical schools
were taken to Allentown to tour the Lehigh shops, said to
have the best safety record in the industry.
Company executives participated in civic activities in
Allentown and half a dozen neighboring towns.
Bowling and other athletic teams competed in a city-wide
An open-house celebration brought 5,000 visitors, includ-
ing a party from New York which arrived via special rail-
road coach. President Mullen emphasized and capitalized
on the fact that the concern's customers include important
industrialists. Allentown was impressed.
Taxi drivers at the railroad station, before Lehigh's com-
munity relations project was started, did not know the plant
location. Today it is a city landmark, despite a rather ob-
scure site on a riverbank. In its industry, Lehigh is now said
to rank among the top five companies nationally. The wide-
spread publicity it received through its community relations
program brought favorable attention unobtainable in any
Myth No. 2. That an industry dare not disclose financial
matters locally, for fear of inciting demands for higher wages.
The taboo based on this myth is on the run. A revealing ex-
ample of how to chase it comes from Chilcott Laboratories,
Morris Plains, N.J., which took the public into its confidence,
using professional skill to present the information. Teachers
and clergymen of the village were given these facts:
By investing an average of $8,500 for each employee, the com-
pany has created jobs for more than 200 persons.
Employees receive 30 cents out of each sales dollar. Stock-
holders receive 4 cents.
Community Relations: An Investment 227
The total annual payroll is more than $700,000 a year— most of
which is spent locally.
The company pays local taxes equal to those on 100 private
Myth No. 3. That arguing over labor policies in public
on the local level will bring reprisals from unions. The fan-
tastic secrecy that surrounds labor parleys implies a warlike
and bitter atmosphere that doesn't exist in a majority of
cases. By inertia the old taboo is permitted to retain its hold.
A promising change of climate is being developed, however,
with the realization that public suspicion of a sinister "deal"
between union organizers and management heads is more
damaging than the truth would be. Though the day when
the press sits in on negotiations has not arrived, it may not be
A note of real progress was sounded by educators in
Pearl River, N.Y., who induced unions and managements
in local industries to accept one another in good faith and
together work out a plan of instruction in labor-management
relations in the high school.
"The first three meetings," says the board of educations
report, "proved to be 'heated' discussions on basic principles
and objectives." However, "much adult education, under-
standing and tolerance emerged from the many meetings
which involved logical discussion and debate on controversial
points." Nobody had expected managements and unions to
see eye to eye; but an end result that meant actual teach-
ing of labor-management problems to students many of
whom would later become part of the labor force obviously
meant a gain on the industrial balance sheet. Significantly,
one of the cooperative managements was that of Lederle
228 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Laboratories Division of The American Cyanimid Company,
an example of intelligent interest in local affairs by an ab-
sentee ownership. Much of the spadework was performed by
this company's resident community relations manager, Noel
Myth No. 4. That it is too risky for management men to
mix in local politics. The basis of fear is the virtual certainty
that sooner or later, if the participation is successful, the
company will be accused of attempting to "run the town."
Yet this can be met head on and the charges shown to be
groundless by honorable execution of the responsibility.
Larger companies, notably Studebaker and Westinghouse,
are proud of the number of public offices held on the local
level by management men, ranging from foremen up the
line. But the smaller company stands to gain relatively even
more in prestige. Granting that it takes courage of a high
order to take political abuse while rendering a public service
for which appreciation will come only after it had been
given, if at all, this is an area that challenges business leader-
ship in emphatic terms.
Nobody has been more outspoken in decrying political
corruption, waste, and disorder than the business commu-
nity. The executive who is willing to act, instead of only
talking, discharges a duty to the local community and also
to the general business system. Here and there a courageous
small company encourages political participation, to its great
Such an opportunity was presented in Wellsburg, W. Va.,
in the 5,000 population class. The city treasury had been in
the red for 15 years. Citizens were concerned over the un-
healthy condition of the local government. A businessmen's
Community Relations: An Investment 229
ticket elected as mayor Don E. Lewis, assistant to the gen-
eral manager of the Hammond Bag and Paper Company,
the largest industry. With him served six young business
leaders, the Hammond plant superintendent among them.
"Of course," Mr. Lewis reported, "we were charged with
attempting to run the town and were put on the spot. Our
administration was watched closely. It was a difficult task
but we operated within the budget, showed a substantial
balance and made various city-wide improvements that were
This instance of businessmen putting the welfare of their
community first is particularly interesting because of its
sequel. The Hammond concern widened participation into
other fields, with resultant good will. Executives accepted
service on the city water board, one became chairman of the
stadium building committee, one headed the civic music
association, another the community youth center, and still
another the Independence Day pageant. In addition, fore-
men from the plant caught the spirit of civic obligation,
made a joint purchase of an emergency oxygen unit for use
of the community, and took the leadership in the city-play-
ground movement and a rural community-improvement asso-
Hammond became known as a public-spirited companv,
something for the community to boast about. And, proving
its sincerity, the company contributes to forty-six philan-
thropic funds. All this, stemming from a decision not to
stand aloof when talent was needed in local government, has
brought about a thorough integration of plant with commu-
nity. It could well bear American Iron and Steel Institute's
felicitous label— "The Good Neighbor Project."
chapter 17 Community Relations in Action
The fine art of developing acquaintance with the neighbors
into friendship is practiced in two ways— visiting them and
inviting them to visit you. In the jargon of public relations
this is called two-way communication. For convenience we
shall consider inlets and outlets of information in terms of
organizations. This is not to minimize the importance of
person-to-person contacts. As Dr. Otis C. McCreery, director
of training of the Aluminum Company of America, puts it,
"Even the barber is a real communication channel and
should not be overlooked. ,,
It is needful to make selection, as few industries could
hope to meet all the people in an area face to face. "Certain
natural leaders," Dr. McCreery says, "influence the thinking
of the community— the teachers, the minister, the doctor, and
the merchant." Add the editors, public officials, union and
chamber of commerce committee heads, and officers of wo-
men's organizations, men's service clubs, and agricultural
and fraternal bodies, and you have a blueprint to Main
Street and to metropolis as well. It is through these men and
women, chosen because other people trust and believe in
them, that a community relations program works success-
The Local Press. The principles of contact work with
Community Relations in Action 231
press, television, and radio, outlined in previous chapters,
apply on the local scene. Merely bear in mind that, in a
plant community of whatever size, publicity dealing with
any phase of industry is more acceptable if based on local
interest. Canned releases and handouts from out-of-town
sources should funnel through the local plant and usually
need rewriting to emphasize the local connection.
An analysis of publicity obtained by a steel company in a
plant-city newspaper over a period of three months was
made by John W. DeChant, who has developed many com-
munity relations programs. Headlines of the principal news
stories paint a picture of a progressive, alert, community-
conscious industry. The space occupied by the stories is
given not as a means of measuring their value to the concern,
but to indicate the relative importance placed on them by
Company Faces Banner Year, Says President [18 column inches]
Five Company Winners of Boy Scout Award [Picture display
over 4 columns, plus 5 inches of text]
Sales Hit 40 Millions in Year [8 column inches]
Flood Control Project Uses Local Product [16 column inches]
Four Promotions by Steel Company [8 column inches]
Will Electrify Largest Plate Mill [9 column inches]
Plant to Close for Christmas [6 column inches]
Get Cash Awards for Suggestions [16 column inches]
Steel Executive Begins 60th Year [3-column picture and 21 inches
of text. This story also was carried on press association wires
from the plant community]
Engineer Receives Award [5 column inches]
Engineers on Visit Told of Company Plans [9 column inches]
Gives Engineering Scholarship [23 column inches]
Field Sales Head Is Speaker [10 column inches]
232 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Company Plans Exhibit [5 column inches]
Local Concern Featured in Magazine Ad [9 column inches]
Talks on Collective Bargaining [18 column inches. The address
was given out of town]
Largest Product Made Here [3-column photograph, plus 7 inches
Pitmen Are on Strike [8 column inches, describing a "wildcat"
Television Will Show Mill [10 column inches]
Local Products Used to Build Big Cyclotron [Two 3-column
pictures, plus 15 inches of text]
Accidents Are Reduced by Steel Mill [3-column picture plus 15
inches of text]
Truck Driver Killed in Accident [14 column inches. The story
pointed out that this was the first fatal accident in 25 years]
Last-minute Goals Help Company Team [9 column inches]
Students Will Visit Mill [5 column inches]
Issues Souvenir Booklet [7 column inches]
The smaller the community, the larger looms the influence
of the individual publisher or editor. The town's top news-
paper men are on an equal social and business footing with
the top local executive of the company. No other individual
in town normally displays more leadership in civic affairs
than the newspaper head. He is a power. Too often he is a
comparative stranger in industrial plants, however. He
assigns newsmen to work with public relations people of
industries, and word sometimes comes up to him through his
own staff that editorial support would be welcomed, but
how often does the company's top administrator go to the
local publisher for advice on community problems?
Is there not more usually a plan worked up by the com-
pany that the paper is merely asked to publicize, or a plan
from the community for which the industry is merely asked
Community Relations in Action 233
to write a check? There's something wrong, a misconception,
when either of these situations exists. It implies an under-
lying suspicion that the other party is venal, can be bought
for money or controlled by an unspoken threat. A more
mature attitude on both sides is badly needed in community
relations. True respect from and to the editor-publisher
should be built on the solider ground of mutual interests
and good will toward each other and toward the community
as a social unit.
TV AND RADIO
Similar considerations apply to the television- and radio-
station heads, but with a difference. These media of com-
munications have not yet assumed the stature of the news-
paper, and therefore their executives are not so influential
in establishing community attitudes, though they may be
even more so in rounding up support. One great advantage
is that they reach a wider audience both in area and in
number of persons reached; a disadvantage, as influencers of
attitudes, is that they have no "editorial page." Television
and radio men are likely to be headed for career goals in
larger communities, and this is a deterrent to their ever be-
coming integrated into the town's life except superficially.
With this sizable discount as to their importance to industry,
however, they remain a close second to the newspaper
editor-publisher, basically because they transmit the news
so forcefully to so many.
Thoughtful community relations specialists of many com-
panies and trade associations have built up through the
234 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
years the structure of a standard plant visit for influential,
relatively small local groups. Such a workable, tried and
tested plan, adaptable for an industry of any size, is suc-
cinctly outlined by the Johns-Manville Corporation.
Local Business and Professional Men
Chambers of commerce, bankers, service clubs, profes-
sional groups, press, etc. Our problems (says Johns-Manville)
are their problems, and if this can be clearly understood, the
local business and professional groups will be the company's
first line of defense in any community.
The Clergy and Religious Groups
Individual clergymen, ministerial associations, lay mem-
bers of church organizations, etc. The clergyman's concept
of right and wrong has tremendous influence. What he says
from the pulpit about business and economic problems car-
ries a moral conviction in the community. Three out of four
clergymen say they want more help through personal con-
tacts with industry in understanding business problems and
what companies are doing to solve them.
Teachers and teen-age students in technical, cultural, and
formal education fields. Because we must inform and win the
educators and those whom they teach. Today, many edu-
cators are hostile to business. Explaining business contribu-
tions to the economy ought to be a continuing job.
Women s Activity Groups
Clubs, parent-teacher groups, League of Women Voters,
etc. Women's opinions are an increasingly strong force in
Community Relations in Action 235
civic affairs, and women own the majority of shares in Amer-
The experience of Johns-Manville community relations
workers has shown that visitors to the local plant are looking
for these four things:
1. A broad view of the plant, its people, its operations,
and its products.
2. A chance to meet the men of industry and hear their
points of view.
3. An opportunity to exchange views with the industrial
leaders of the community.
4. An explanation in terms related to each visitor's own
finances, of how company operations benefit the local econ-
Regardless of the size of your plant, [says a manual prepared
for community relations staffs] there are certain broad areas of
opinion that you can and should discuss when entertaining plant
visitors. You can do these things:
Demonstrate that the plant is a good place to work, that it is
safe and that the pay is fair.
Show that every plant employee is an important person and
that every job is vital, thus revealing management's concern for
the dignity of the individual.
Put management on display during plant tours. Individual
members of the management team should be seen answering the
questions and shaking hands, thus showing by actions manage-
ment's friendly attitude toward our community neighbors. Visitors
are scared away by formidable management groups standing on
a pedestal; resent it if they go into hiding when visitors are in the
By informing plant visitors about research, advertising, sales
promotion, quality control and the importance of a high level of
production and wide distribution, demonstrate that management
236 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
is sympathetic to needs of employees, that it is trying to provide
job security, and that to accomplish these purposes management
has the responsibility of building a strong, profitable company.
These activities must be broadly interpreted so plant visitors do
not miss the point.
Make your visitors understand that the company and its man-
agement accept their rightful share of community responsibility.
Prove this point by showing the many ways in which the com-
pany contributes to community well-being through taxes, distri-
bution of local payrolls, local purchases, donations, civic activities.
Relate these things to the individual visitor's own self-interest.
Tell the story of your plant technology and products only
enough to capture interest. Tell how products are made, what
they are used for, how widely they are distributed, how they help
raise living standards and again, what it means to the local
economy to have these products made at your plant.
Help your plant visitors realize that operating a modern,
progressive business and keeping it profitable enough to provide
continuing job security is a very complex job; that often the best
intenrioned management cannot always do the things it would
like to do, that business and industry can always do a better job
if the community shows understanding, patience and faith.
The Borden Company, with plants of many sizes scattered
through many states, has adopted basic policies for receiving
guests, but the greatest flexibility in applying them. Borden
plant visits are scheduled for groups ranging from small
parties (preferably eight or ten people) to large-scale open-
house audiences. These audiences may be the regular public,
employees' families, area dealers, or farm and community
organizations. Borden's check list of the fundamentals to be
considered in each of these affairs is extremely useful:
Number of guides needed.
Community Relations in Action 237
Whether plant should be kept operating.
Whether place should be provided at the plant for meeting.
Whether to provide speaker.
Whether to provide transportation.
What to serve as refreshments.
Souvenirs, gifts or favors.
Welcome questions from your guests [Borden's advises its
plant managers]. The more interested a visitor is, the more ques-
tions he may ask.
A distinguished elderly gentleman visited one of our large
Borden plants. He asked question after question. He talked with
employees throughout the plant. He poked his nose into corners
the average visitor would never give a second glance.
He wanted to know all sorts of things. How do you keep the
plant insect-free? How often do you paint your trucks? How
much gasoline does a truck use in a day? How much does a route
salesman earn? How long does the average employee work for
Borden's? How many 25-year employees do you have?
He asked searching questions about every process he watched.
Efficiency, cleanliness, safety and product quality especially in-
After touring the plant, the visitor introduced himself. He was
chairman of the board of directors of one of America's largest
companies. He also was a large Borden stockholder. He wanted
to see how the company he owned part of was being operated.
(And he found out and was well satisfied.)
Visitors are bound to ask questions you can't answer. No one
can know everything. So, no matter what your job is, there's
nothing wrong with admitting you don't know an answer.
If you can't answer a question, say so. Tell your visitor you
will get the information for him. If possible, do so before he
leaves the plant.
If you can't find the answer immediately, take the visitor's
238 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
name, address and telephone number, and relay the information
to him as soon as you can.
Remember, one of the best ways to build goodwill is to
answer questions carefully and fully.
The plant visit, whether of an individual or the thousands
of daily guests such as throng through the Ford plant in
Dearborn, should not slavishly follow any pattern set by
someone else. It must reflect the home-town plant or its
whole accomplishment will be diluted. Advice comes to
community relations workers from many sources. Every de-
tail of it should be challenged, to make sure it applies in this
plant on this occasion for this group. At times the advice is
bad. An example:
During open house type tours, it is impractical for top manage-
ment to greet all guests in a conference room. As a substitute, a
one-minute recorded greeting from the company president, wel-
coming visitors and urging them to enjoy their visit, may be
played continuously as visitors enter the plant.
A colder reception could scarcely be imagined! Better that
the office boy should greet visitors than that the canned,
superficial, and impersonal tones of Mr. Big should interrupt
the peace of an otherwise pleasant occasion. Johns-Manville
has the right idea— top management should stand on no
pedestal, nor should it flee when the doorbell rings.
The open house is merely an expanded plant visit. It de-
mands complete organization because so many are to be
accommodated at once. Special points to be observed:
Community Relations in Action 239
Safety precautions are a must. If an over-all-liability in-
surance policy covering the plant is not already in force,
special short-term insurance should be taken, for the period
from the first physical work of preparation to the last minute
of cleanup. Some items in preparation:
Eliminate any safety hazards on streets leading to the
Set up parking facilities.
Notify all employees of date and time of open house.
(Every family likes to put on its best bib and tucker when
company is expected.)
Enforce good housekeeping by a thorough cleanup. (A
Pennsylvania company started in on this, then had to post-
pone its open house thirty days, such a monstrous job was
entailed. But the former Augean stables were spick-and-span
when the affair finally was held; the company established a
fine repute, and the premises have been maintained in good
Pay special attention to clean rest rooms.
Rope or rail off danger spots. If necessary, paint tour routes
on floors or indicate them by a series of signs and arrows,
to keep visitors out of overhead-crane areas, etc.
Prepare signs, posters, and exhibits as aids in telling the
company story. Lettered cardboard signs are adequate in
most plant areas; however, near heavy machinery, metal or
porcelain-enamel signs are preferable.
Provide clean benches or chairs at intervals on a long: tour.
And give visitors a few minutes to occupy them. Never hurry
Make arrangements in plant cafeteria or elsewhere for
comfort while refreshments (if any) are served.
240 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Keep plant operations going if at all feasible. It is a let-
down to host and guests to see idle aisles.
Alert medical and first-aid centers, and overstaff them for
Prepare a visitors' pamphlet, with a copy for everyone
(including children). Where such expense is unwarranted,
a mimeographed sheet, giving highlights about the company,
can be made to do.
Budget the open-house affair. It can run into real money,
for as enthusiasm gains, many management people will con-
tribute ideas. On the topic of expense, more wise and hard-
headed words from Borden:
Every public relations or sales promotion project should have
its own price tag. To arrive at a fair price, you should ask your-
self: "What am I trying to do, and what is that worth? How
valuable is this going to be to the company?"
Obviously you can't figure the value of plant tours to the exact
penny, but careful analysis should help you to arrive at a rough
estimate and get a good return on your investment in them.
If you hope to promote sales through a plant tour, you would
expect to spend more on a dealer than on the average retail
prospect. You may have a pressing farm problem that a plant
tour will help solve. In such a case, it would be worth more to
invite your producers than members of a luncheon club. Long-
range planning helps here. Good taste and good judgment are
important in planning entertainment. You don't want to appear
lavish— and you certainly don't want to be thought cheap. Plant
tours can get over-expensive if judgment is not used. Good plan-
ning will assure you your money's worth.
A COMPANY GOES VISITING
The flow of community interest should be out of the plant
as well as into it. Participation by company men in civic,
Community Relations in Action 241
philanthropic, service, religious, governmental, and social
activities is bound to occur to a certain extent, but in many
cases this responsibility is passed too far down the line. Top-
echelon management should make a point of participating
In addition, a program of more or less formal visits by top
local management reaps a rich harvest. Suitable occasions
are the regular meetings of local organizations, in which the
company either takes over the program or contributes a
large part of it. The fUmstrip, the movie, the demonstration,
and the talk on science, engineering, economics, etc., always
presented from a local viewpoint, are among the vehicles.
If they are used in a hit-or-miss fashion, acceding to re-
quests for programs or speakers, a certain amount of value
is gained. This can be greatly increased by an organized
plan of action.
Preparation for such a plan begins well in advance, and
entails cooperation from many executives of various levels.
The publicity or community relations man is the logical co-
ordinator. Even a plant employing fewer than a hundred
can implement an organized plan to advantage.
Send the Right Visitor
On the local scene it mav be a mistake to designate a
company speaker solely on the basis of his title. If a vice
president is more effective on the platform than the presi-
dent, it is the vice president who should be the spokesman.
Here the purposes are a shade different than in Chapter 2
where the advantages of the company head as general
spokesman are outlined. We are down at the home-to\Mi
basis now, where the company representative may be
242 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
known primarily because he sings in his church choir,
serves on the board of education, or heads the Red Cross
drive, and secondarily because of his business connection.
Therefore a man is needed who, because of his standing
in the community, reflects credit on the company, and intro-
duces the company to his own personal friends and neigh-
bors. This does not mean that almost anyone who has good
community qualifications can do this important job for the
company; he should be a high-ranking local company offi-
cial. Others may assist and supplement his community
work, but he must lead.
With the Right Luggage
In taking the company to the community, the official
should not be casual about his business connection, for his
visits have a serious purpose. He must pack into his head,
and perhaps into his brief case, a store of reliable and inter-
esting information that his audiences will welcome. Prop-
erly to equip this man is the task of the public relations staff.
Visual materials, such as slides, charts, display panels, in-
formation manuals, and other company literature, need to be
prepared for him, and he should participate in their prep-
aration. Too often a speakers' bureau is set up in a company,
identical materials are supplied to all who are willing to
help, and a shotgun is used to spread the company's story
throughout the local area.
Even at the expense of reaching fewer audiences, it is far
better to consider each individual speaker's own needs, per-
sonality, approach to the subject, and degree of ability on
the platform. Then the materials should be tailored to this
individual's requirements. It is painful to watch and listen
Community Relations in Action 243
while a local citizen stumbles doggedly through a canned
speech from headquarters, because he thinks his company
demands it. With just a few minor changes that fit him, he
can retain his role as neighbor, instead of being compelled to
be a bore.
The same material, the same presentation, may be made
in a community a dozen times. Suppose a speaker has an
appealing way with young men and women. In an average
community, down to 5,000 population and even lower, he
could perform a valuable service to both community and
company by repeating the use of the same materials at
least six times, to these audiences: Boy Scouts, Four-H
clubs, Future Farmers of America, Girl Scouts, Science
Clubs of America, Junior Achievement Groups.
A similar pattern can be repeated for women's, church,
fraternal, veterans', mercantile, medical, and other profes-
Perhaps the most comprehensive study of industry-educa-
tion relationships is that made by Hill & Knowlton public
relations counsel for American Iron and Steel Institute.
Among specific recommendations appear the following:
Through company efforts, and funds where necessary, a con-
structive program of library improvement and enlargement is
A book donation campaign by company management and
employees to build adequate, appropriate libraries for new
Because of the serious shortage of teachers in virtually every
field, local teachers and school boards will usually welcome anv
244 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
teaching assistance in special courses or classes. . . . Guest
teachers are very desirable additions to most high school and
Visual education in schools offers a growing opportunity for
companies to provide either their own or selected educational
films, which the teachers may work into regular curricula on a
The opportunities for company-sponsored donations of time,
money, equipment or facilities to improve all local school
(athletic) activities are numerous in every community.
Of interest among national programs is Junior Achievement,
a movement for establishment of individual enterprises by ambi-
tious young people, usually of high school age.
Another is the Science Clubs of America, of which there are
now several thousand. The members engage in scientific projects
of the widest variety, usually with the help and guidance of a
sponsor, who works hand in hand with the science teacher of the
local junior or senior high school.
A money donation is quite capable of producing ill will,
the reverse of its purpose. This is not only a lost investment,
but a costly damage to prestige. Most companies are be-
sieged by well-intentioned philanthropies, and indeed if it
were not for the support by business and industry of most
of the country's good works, there is little doubt all public
health and welfare would by this time be in the hands of
government. Industry gives generously. There is no need to
labor the point that it should also give judiciously. There are
times when it definitely should not give, times when con-
tributions should be reduced. Fairness, impartiality, a sense
of balance are as essential to gaining the good will implied
as is a warm corporate heart.
Community Relations in Action 245
Contributions of time and service may be even more im-
portant than money gifts. When a company in its role of
good neighbor joins with others in a project for beautifica-
tion of its own grounds, the homes of employees, a public
park or highway, it assists in building a monument with
which it will always be identified.
A typical project of this sort is the Plant America move-
ment in which many hundreds of industrial companies assist,
to their own great advantage. In Columbus, Ohio, for ex-
ample, largely through the support of local business and
industry, the largest rose garden in the world was planted.
This was but part of a state-wide celebration of the Ohio
Sesquicentennial of 1953, which called for planting twenty-
five million trees and shrubs. No more forceful demonstra-
tion of the willingness of business to take its place in a
community movement has been made. The Ohio plantings
in turn are part of Plant America, a program quietlv and
successfully promoted for some five years throughout the
country by the American Association of Nurserymen. Howard
P. Quadland, public relations counselor to the nurserymen,
The heart of Plant America is the local community, indeed the
individual family, school, church, mercantile or industrial con-
cern. Somewhere along the line, when this local movement began,
leadership obviously was needed. This leadership was found in
industry and business. In the postwar years, business-which is
made up of human beings, too-warmed to the suggestion that
now there would be time and opportunity to do more than build
efficient and better-looking factories, warehouses and stores; the
grounds surrounding these sites provided a wonderful opportunity
Response to the publicity about the Plant America movement
246 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
came from the most unexpected places. Mining and mill towns,
heavy-industry zones in large cities, suburban localities into
which department and other stores were expanding— these be-
came important and inspiring sources of beautification.
THE SHAREHOLDER'S SHARE
Is the owner a part of the local community, even though
physically removed by hundreds or even thousands of miles?
Well, he should be, and his feeling of identification with the
company is on the increase. True, some are interested in
nothing but the balance sheet, the net earnings after taxes,
and the amount of dividends received. To this type of share-
holder, success is based on opportunism. All he owns, in his
view, is a piece of paper, and when its value goes down a
dollar or so per share, he'll sell out quickly and shift his
investment to something more prosperous at the moment.
If all shareholders took this short-term attitude, American
business would be almost as badly off as if the government
decided to buy in on all the means of production in the
economy. Management faces a constant threat from two
sides— the irresponsible purchaser of its common stock, and
the Marxist who would place all responsibility in a theoreti-
cally all-wise government.
Not ours to argue basic economics. If the shareholder does
not belong to the community in which the plant exists, he
belongs nowhere, for he is an asset on which management
has a right to count in its dealings with community factors.
In this concept, management also has a responsibility to
the shareholder far beyond earnings and dividends. With the
objective of more enlightened shareholder relations, Weston
Smith, executive vice president of Financial World magazine,
Community Relations in Action 247
dramatized and encouraged this modern trend by staging an
annual competition for the best annual reports to share-
holders. Mr. Smith's approach was a studied blend of the
popular contest and Hollywood ballyhoo. But it was based
upon the soundest principles, and its success was and is
phenomenal. Not to participate in the annual "Oscar-of-
lndustry" contest of Financial World is, to over 5,000 Amer-
ican corporations, to admit to being a nobody. Yet many
companies which do compete are small in physical plant,
number of employees, and sales volume.
Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., in an address at one of the spectacular
banquets at which the Oscars are awarded, said: "Corporate
reports should sell competitive enterprise." In less than a
decade industry as a whole became aware that it had to
compete for the shareholder as well as for the employee and
the customer. The pediment of this competition is the annual
report of management.
Through producing better annual reports-5,000 are now
submitted annually in Financial Worlds Oscar contest-and
the use of accessory materials, financial public relations
specialists have assisted business in major aims: to broaden
the base of corporate ownership, to develop confidence in
management on the part of owners, and to reduce unthink-
ing turnover of shares.
In the modernized annual report much attention is given
to employee and community relations. Backing this up, an
increasing number of companies now issue semiannual or
quarterly reports of business. Others enclose informative
leaflets with dividend notices. Presidents of many companies
sign "welcome" letters to new shareholders; some even send
letters of regret to those who have sold their shares.
248 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
The annual meeting of shareholders also has undergone
a marked change since World War II, a change in the direc-
tion of greater owner participation in company affairs. Trans-
portation is sometimes provided; luncheon is often served;
product demonstrations, filmstrips, motion pictures, plant
tours, and other means of giving the owners a sense of
"belonging" are more widely employed every year.
Some companies even hold regional meetings of share-
holders in places where there is a large concentration of
ownership. In 1952 about one-fifth of 1,000 corporations
studied provided minutes of shareholder meetings to indi-
vidual owners, including those who could not attend. These
minutes are attractively printed and many carry photographs
of the meeting.
The result of this treatment of the shareholder as part of
the community has been an awakened interest and an in-
crease in attendance at annual meetings and in the number
of comments and inquiries from shareholders as to company
progress. The shareholder, whose slice of the familiar pie
chart depicting what happens to the company's income dol-
lar always looks so small, is without question developing a
greater degree of identification with "his" company— in the
majority of cases it is "her" company— and this trend, insti-
tuted and developed by public relations practitioners, is
highly desirable from management's point of view.
chapter 18 When the News Is Bad
Back in the early 1900s, city desks in New York newspaper
offices were astounded when the telephone rang, and a voice
said, "This is Eddie Riggs of the New Haven Railroad. Bad
wreck up the line. We're running a special train to the scene
for newspapermen. If you want to cover the story, be at the
depot in an hour."
This marked a dramatic change in the attitude of industry
toward the press. So strong has the tradition grown that
today it is a rare company that locks the gates, bars newsmen
at the point of a gun, or refuses to admit bad news.
By baring the truth and facing facts that hurt, industry
has built a bulwark of public confidence. Too seldom is
recognition given to the fact that by and large this has not
been due to union demands, government orders, or any out-
side pressures. When bad news breaks, a company finds
public defenders, solely because of truthful explanations,
willingness to tell the worst, and cooperation with the press'
When an explosion wrecked Texas City, public relations
people of Monsanto Chemical Company performed heroic
feats to get all the news to the public as quickly and reliably
as possible. Most communities have had their disasters. \
hundred instances could be cited in which publicity men
have taken the lead in publishing the details, furnishing
250 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
every facility for reporters and photographers, and with-
holding no scrap of information, no matter how damaging.
The attitude this indicates is taken for granted nowadays,
but has been general only in our generation. Let the pub-
licity man, therefore, wear his halo, for he is entitled to it.
Practically all large industries organize in advance to
handle disaster news. The smaller concern, with limited staff,
can gain equally good public approval merely by refusing
to be panicked into secrecy. The publicity man should do
the advance thinking and have his plan ready in case of
emergency. John W. DeChant relates a typical example :
A manufacturing company was commended in several news-
papers and industrial magazines for the able and excellent fashion
in which it handled a serious accident on company property.
Ambulances had no sooner headed for the mill when the com-
pany's publicity director received a call from the department
head, with full details. On the heels of that came a call from the
local newspaper asking where the ambulances were going, and
why. The editor was given the location of the accident. Then he
was asked where he could be met and how many reporters would
be covering the story.
Within minutes, the publicity man, the operating vice presi-
dent and news reporters and photographers converged at the
A press headquarters was set up in a requisitioned office
nearby. The telephone switchboard was notified to clear lines for
the press. Reporters were assured that all information would be
relayed to them just as fast as it came in.
Photographers were told to take any pictures they desired.
Although no effort was made to control their activities, they were
asked where possible to give heed to the feelings of the families
Because of frankness, promptness, professional guidance and
When the News Is Bad 251
the cooperation of senior executives and men on the scene, the
full story was obtained and the danger of false rumors averted.
Within two hours details of the story were available, families
notified, management informed and press and radio completely
satisfied. The community commended the company for its forth-
STRIKES AND LOCKOUTS
A typical strike or lockout of the present day is a public
debate on issues, seldom an armed war, as was frequently
the case up to the 1930s. Public opinion demanded a change
in attitude, and industry responded by using all its public
relations skills, which really boiled down to frank presenta-
tion of all the facts. Any shutdown of a plant is a disaster,
however, demanding all the legitimate ingenuity and art-
fulness of publicity brains.
A New Jersey manufacturer who had got along without
labor trouble for thirty-five years faced a struck plant. He
hired publicity counsel, and was advised against issuing a
recriminatory statement he had prepared. Instead, a letter
was sent to the home of every striking employee, giving the
company's case in reasoning terms, and ending with a post-
script: "Remember, our Biggest Fish contest is still open.
If you catch a big one while you are not working, bring it
down to the employment office and we'll weigh it in."
This ability to "take it easy" when burning issues tend to
raise blood pressure is admittedly rare. Yet the publicity
counselor certainly earned his fee, for when the negotiators
met it was in an atmosphere of friendlv joshing over the
fishing contest, and a settlement was reached without the
It is the publicity man's role, not to urge a "soft" attitude
252 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
for fear of public reaction, but to seek ways to advance the
company's case in a labor controversy. He should remember
that the company's side is his side, too. He makes a gain if
he induces management not to utter "fighting words" at the
wrong time, but when the chips are down he is manage-
The wake of a strike is as important as the days of actual
shutdown. This is the time for conciliatory but not wishy-
washy statements. Almost always, after the formal announce-
ment of the conclusion of an agreement, management desires
to make an afterstatement. The publicity man should look
ahead, think about what employee attitudes will be when
the term of the new contract has run out.
A fine example of this constructive kind of thinking was
given by the editor of a house magazine. A company state-
ment had been handed him, reviewing the strikes and en-
titled "In Retrospect." The editor rewrote the statement in
the tone of mutual interests of employees and employer, with
the title "Let's Look Ahead." Management saw the point at
once and approved the statement; and, mirabile dictu, the
union chief even complimented the editor.
These instances of public relations influence over manage-
ment bear significance. They point to opportunity to increase
not only personal stature but that of the public relations
function as well. To gain a reputation as the person within
management's immediate reach who can be counted on to
maintain a calm and relatively objective attitude in emer-
gency is to increase management's dependence on the sort
of professional advice that management welcomes. And this
is what the public relations worker in all fields is really re-
tained for— whether on a company staff or as counsel.
When the News Is Bad 253
Heavy responsibilities and myriads of detail overwhelm
the most competent of executives at times. To become the
recognized "thinker ahead," never too busy to consider the
consequences, should be a primary public relations goal.
Frequent reference is made to public relations as a "function
of management." The term has meaning only when it is
applied even in minor matters. This recognition comes not
through insistence on it, but by earning it.
To build good will on disaster takes some doing, yet it has
been done again and again. A classic example is the experi-
ence of Sterling Drug Inc., which, as is related in an in-
formational pamphlet, "has grown not only in size but in its
appreciation of its duty to the public."
The hazards of drug manufacture, and the fact that the manu-
facturer of products which are recommended for use by the
public involves responsibility to the public, were dramatically
illustrated in the Charles H. Fletcher Castoria incident, out of
which the company emerged with increased prestige.
Certain batches of Castoria unaccountably fell below standard
and got on the market. It produced discomforting reactions when
taken. Sterling felt that, having for years advised people to take
the product as a good and useful medicine, it ought to advise
against taking it when something was wrong. Accordingly Ster-
ling immediately informed the public of that fact, through radio
and the newspapers. It inserted an advertisement in every daily
paper in the United States urging discontinuance of sale, warning
the public against use and asking that all bottles be returned.
Full refund was made on some five million bottles, which were
destroyed. Charles H. Fletcher Castoria remained off the market
for more than a year, yet public reaction to this evidence of
254 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
manufacturer responsibility was so favorable that sales increased
steadily month by month and by 1946 volume approached the
highest level in recent times.
This evidence of integrity is cited not out of a conviction
that a corporate conscience is so rare, but to show how good
public relations advice, plus the knowledge of the techniques
of reaching the public quickly, justifies the term "a function
of management." The advice in this case was rendered by
the public relations counseling firm of Baldwin and Mermey,
specialists in publicizing drug products. One of the most
gratifying results of the incident was that a number of news-
papers, sensing that the manufacturer was operating hon-
estly in the public interest, ran the advertisements but refused
to accept payment for them. What a tribute!
The Sterling case was dramatic, but does not stand alone.
Pyrene Manufacturing Company called in 500,000 hand fire
extinguishers, when it was learned that some had been
rendered useless by the presence of a corrosive in the liquid
chemical contents. The expense ran into millions. Surely
there must have been a temptation to take a chance that not
very many of the extinguishers were faulty. But, following
good public relations advice (the publicity and advertising
firm of Gray and Rogers gave it), company officials did not
hesitate to follow the course of right conduct. Despite all
quality controls and checks, faulty products do reach the
market in most lines of business. When the bitter fact is
faced, and amends made, the manufacturer not only gains
a renewal of faith in himself, but multiplies his prestige.
Those examples come from relatively large concerns. The
principle applies to smaller ones as well. A building-erection
contractor discovered a fault at the base of a column, just
When the News Is Bad 255
as concrete was to be poured over it. He held up the job,
risked bearing a ruinous penalty for delay, tore out part of
the building, and ordered the erection crew to stand by until
a new and perfectly formed column could be fabricated at
the shops. There was not one chance in a thousand that the
faulty member would have given way. But the contractor
said, "I like to sleep easy."
It might be held that virtue is its own reward and that
these illustrations of business integrity ought to be taken
for granted. In the public relations view, it is not enough
to do the right thing, though that is fundamental. It is
equally needful to get credit for doing it. That is the heart
of publicity and public relations, to let your light so shine
before men that they may see your good works.
No more competitive business exists than that of the air-
lines. Yet when a series of tragic accidents brought about
such public clamor that the Newark airport was closed, rival-
ries were temporarily forgotten in an all-industry effort to
mitigate the dangers of operation near cities.
There had been no coordinated previous effort to better
the worrisome setup, according to Tide, the public relations
and advertising magazine:
The catastrophes changed a large part of the situation. Gal-
vanized into action, the aviation industry got together, formed
the National Coordinating Committee. Everybody got on board:
the scheduled as well as non-scheduled airlines, the pilots' union,
the plane manufacturers, government representatives and others.
A Public Relations Committee, headed up bv Walter H. Neff,
United Air Lines' special assistant to the president, called in
256 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
John Moynahan & Associates as PR counsel. In double-quick
time a program designed to restore and foster confidence was
drawn up, approved and under way. Theme of the plot: civil
aviation must do everything possible to safeguard public welfare
The mechanics of the program were quite simple. Moynahan
and Neff became the press liaison team through which NATCC
communicated. All press inquiries received by individual mem-
bers of the over-all committee were referred to this team for
handling so that a consistent story always resulted.
Then a speakers' bureau was set up whose job it was to contact
community leaders and tell them exactly what NATCC was doing
to insure safety.
Finally, a special complaint bureau was formed which handled
all gripes about low-flying planes and noise. The bureau's phone
number was widely publicized and residents were invited to call
in when they were disturbed.
On several counts this situation presents classic features.
It illustrates industrial conscience and response to public
demand. It shows promptness in organizing a public rela-
tions program based on publicity and community relations.
It indicates how company publicity people and public rela-
tions counsel team up. It demonstrates that in public
relations a disaster is not over when the dead are buried
and the news printed; the continuing complaint bureau was
a master stroke in providing public reassurance.
Although new troubles obviously were gathering for the
airlines, with the proposed use of jet-propelled planes in
civil aviation, the basis had been set to deal with them,
subject to the limits of human ingenuity. Significantly, the
over-all committee recognized what segments of the indus-
try had previously refused to face. "We're a noisy industry,"
Mr. Neff said. "That's the price of progress. All we can do
When the News Is Bad 257
is to keep searching for further operating techniques and
devices to lessen our noise nuisance."
A SMALL-TOWN CRISIS
Just as the airlines have to continue to live with a problem
far from being solved, so do many individual companies in
other fields. An honest and forthright attitude does wonders
in enlisting civic leaders' sympathetic attitudes, even when
they, too, are helpless to find a complete solution. The size
of the company does not make a difference in such a situa-
tion. If accepted as a neighbor with a problem on its hands,
it will find sufferance.
The following account from the Rockland County ( N.Y. )
Journal News illustrates how sincere yet adept handling won
over the public after hostility had reached a point of crisis:
Members of the Pearl River Civic Association and representa-
tives of Lederle Laboratories met last night in a neighborly
fashion at the high school to discuss a neighborhood problem,
the odor coming from the pharmaceutical plant which has been
a source of annoyance to many residents of the community.
Representing Lederle were Raymond M. Nee, chief engineer,
and Noel J. MacCarry, coordinator of community relations, who
first explained the company's position and then answered ques-
tions directed to them from members of the association.
The review of the odor problem really divulged nothing new,
being for the most part a reiteration by Lederle men of what most
people already know, namely that the laboratory is spending
money and using labor in a continuing effort to lick the smells
that cause the annoyance.
There was one thing rather novel, however, for last night the
Lederle spokesman came out and told the civic group something
that they probably were already aware of but which had not been
voiced in so many words to them.
258 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
"This town simply cannot have a plant producing 'wonder'
drugs in the quality, amount and speed for which Lederle is
known, without some odors," Mr. MacCarry declared.
The civic group accepted this as a fact but considerable inter-
est was shown later in whether all possible ways of eliminating
or diverting the odor had been either tried or were in the process
of being tried.
Mr. MacCarry pointed out that neither he nor Mr. Nee was at
the meeting "to make any promises of a complete solution to this
problem. We can assure you, however, that the work toward
reducing the types of odors will be continued without considera-
tions of cost and labor. We have to give primary consideration to
treatment and disposal of our sewage, with our secondary efforts
being applied to the odors that go with such industrial waste.
The two problems are closely allied but we are proceeding on the
thesis that the health of the community as a whole and the
demands of production have dictated the greater emphasis on
It is interesting to note that as a consequence of this meet-
ing protests against the odors fell away to practically zero.
KEEPING ONE'S SHIRT ON
A cyclone is characterized, says Merriam-Webster, by
high winds rotating about a calm center. There are times
when a publicity man is paid for getting excited, and trans-
mitting his vibrations to others, but in a period of trouble
he should represent the low-pressure area. Tempers get
short, nerves raw, underlying fears may make others sick or
even hysterical. In any executive group facing bad tidings,
one person, no matter what his rank, is sure to attract con-
fidence because of his demeanor, steady voice, and, above
all, ability to keep on thinking, his brain unchoked by
When the News Is Bad 259
How does one attain the capacity for such wisdom? By
practice. In small crises within management, it is possible
to deserve a reputation as the chap who keeps his shirt on.
Study those in administrative posts. You will discover at
least one to whom you would naturally turn. The character-
istic you admire in him may not be calmness at all. It may
be vitality, forcefulness, imaginative synthesis, projection of
a farseeing plan.
Whatever it is, the fact that it attracts you to this man as
one you could trust to lead indicates that you have at least a
latent similar quality in your own make-up. It is this you
should develop, for its possession will build your own con-
fidence. No need to worry whether if emergency should
strike you would be equal to it; calmness in crisis will come
if you have faith in your own capacity to see any situation
through. This confidence can best be founded on the one
major trait you most admire in another and that you seize
upon and adapt as your own. Many also find in religion a
satisfactorv source of assurance and conduct during involv-
ment in trouble.
chapter 19 The Costs of Publicity
Because of the subject, this chapter bristles with dollar signs
Yet any formula or standard of publicity costs has to be
taken with a grain of salt. Few statistical studies have been
made public. Accounting firms that serve many mercantile
and industrial companies confess to bewilderment at the
hundred-and-one ways in which these costs are allocated
and budgets set up for them.
Where do publicity and public relations end, and adver-
tising or industrial relations begin? Should publicity be con-
sidered a permanent emergency operation, a sort of fire
extinguisher that needs refilling from time to time? Or is it
indeed a recognized function of top management, ranking
with the legal department in prestige?
The larger, older, and more experienced it is in handling
the public, the more a company tends to stabilize its pub-
licity and public relations departmental status. General
Motors has a vice president in charge of public relations.
In United States Steel Corporation a similar administrator is
assistant to the chairman. Railroads and utilities have pop-
ularized the title of assistant to the president, and a few
hundred manufacturing, department-store, and service organ-
izations have followed suit. Occasionally an outside counselor
The Costs of Publicity 261
is elected to the board of directors. Not infrequently a
counselor sits with such boards though not a voting
WHO HANDLES PUBLICITY
In contrast, a study of eighty-five large companies made
by Professor Nugent Wedding of the University of Illinois
in 1952 revealed the following departments handling public
relations and publicity:
Industrial relations and personnel 25.0
These eighty-five companies, including consumer- goods
makers, industrial-goods makers, railroads and public util-
ities, and banks, showed wide variety in arriving at budgets.
Here are the eleven ways they went about determining
Objectives and task ( amount depends on job to be done ) . 25.9
No separate budget (included in advertising) 17.6
Historical (based on past years ) 14.1
Included in sales budget 8.2
Included in industrial relations 8.2
Historical (with provision for emergencies) 5.9
No budget (special appropriation for each job) 5.9
No budget (activities handled under other departments) . . 5.9
Arbitrarily determined 4.7
Based on future sales 2.4
Based on net sales 1.2
262 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
When these figures were published in Printers' Ink maga-
zine, many publicity people, proud of professional status,
felt a chill go up their spines. And some counselors, disposed
to place publicity lower in importance than the more eso-
teric branches of their practice, were brought to earth when
Professor Wedding disclosed that 100 per cent of the com-
panies included publicity as their No. 1 public relations
activity; 70.8 per cent also use employee publications; 68.2
per cent, reports to shareholders; 63.5 per cent, preparation
of literature; 60 per cent, advertising; 47.1 per cent, com-
munity work; 42.4 per cent, public speaking; and no other
activity ranked as high as 40 per cent.
Purely by coincidence, the top activities in Professor
Wedding's list make up the main substance of this book,
with the exception of advertising, a related but separate
SALES AND ADVERTISING
By the tax collector and other government officials, how-
ever, publicity and public relations are lumped with adver-
tising, on the grounds that all serve the same purpose in one
way or another, promotion of good will and hence sales
profits. The movement to consider advertising as a section
of public relations, instead of the other way round, is worthy,
is gaining recognition, and has logic on its side; but in
official, accounting, and popular conception, advertising
usually is given seniority.
Moreover, it is convenient to base publicity budgets on
advertising experience because of the body of excellent sta-
tistical work done by advertising organizations. A useful
study of industrial advertising budgets in 1952 by the Na-
The Costs of Publicity 263
tional Industrial Advertisers Association shows that in about
five hundred companies advertising budgets represented an
average of 1.98 per cent of gross sales. Exclusive of salaries
and wages, the average percentage of advertising expendi-
tures that went for publicity was 2.6. This did not include
borderline expenses that might be part advertising and part
public relations, such as industrial exhibits and shows, 5.5
per cent; product literature, 19.9 per cent; and films, 1.5
These cross sections of industry percentages may be
checked against the findings of Professor H. W. Hepner in
his Effective Advertising, published in 1949, which gave
Number and kind Percentage of sales
of manufacturers spent for advertising
8 motor vehicle 2.33
10 fruit and canning 5.41
10 soap 12.31
8 perfume and cosmetic 20.65
10 clothing 4.94
5 refrigeration and air conditioning 2.99
17 drug and medicine 15.12
Dr. Hepner's study was in consumer goods; the more
recent one by the National Industrial Advertisers Association
was based mostly on machinery, transport, and other indus-
trial products and services. Percentages rise sharply the
nearer one gets to the general public, as is to be expected.
In the case of publicity, however, this does not necessarily
hold. A department store doing ten-million-dollar volume
a year may be expected to spend less on publicity than a
hard-goods manufacturer with similar volume. The consumer-
264 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
goods maker or distributor depends on a larger advertising
expenditure, while the concern that sells to industry backs
up its advertising in business papers, which charge much
lower rates, with publicity, which normally costs very little.
An advertising budget, often including publicity costs,
is based upon need and competition, taxes, and perhaps
past experience. During World War II house publications
flourished in companies where defense products were being
manufactured. The government allowed these companies to
charge off a high percentage of the costs of internal publi-
cations to advertising in the interest of national security
through sustaining morale among employees.
If a company can, from an accounting standpoint, deduct
all or some of the cost of publicity or public relations from
taxes, it may be inclined to raise the budget for this ac-
tivity. For example, a publicity program for one year is
budgeted at $35,000. The controller determines that from
a tax position the program is actually costing only $9,000.
Executives may then be willing to increase the budget by
several thousand dollars.
HOW BUDGETS BEGIN
Ideally, public relations is a preventive type of business
activity, but most programs originate as curative operations,
and exact budget requirements are seldom determined with
accuracy at the start.
For example, a New England company found itself with
a difficult labor problem. Management decided that the
company must tell its side of the story. It simply wanted
to communicate with the employees in the best possible
The Costs of Publicity 265
Someone suggested the possibility of a house publication.
The president made the final decision. The industrial re-
lations department head was instructed to hire an editor
or a publicity man, or to engage outside counsel.
The amount of money to be spent was thus based on per-
sonal judgment, in the vein of what the company thought
could be afforded. To some degree, the seriousness of the
situation often helps to determine the budget. Immediate
action was called for in this case, and the expense involved
was not considered to be of paramount importance. It took
a crisis for a long-existing need to be recognized.
The plant paper was started. It was a success. Soon the
new publicity man's activities were expanded and organized.
He began to handle news releases, and wrote a speech for
a vice president. The department was an actuality. Then it
was up to the man in charge to prove his effectiveness and
continue to enlarge the scope of his work. Within a year he
was given the title of publicity director. But the beginnings
were not based upon sales volume or factual financial anal-
ysis. The need dictated the action; rationalization came
An Ohio company found that a highly competitive product
was getting a great deal of publicity. An executive noticed
that the rival company appeared with annoying regularity
in the trade journals, the big-circulation magazines and
elsewhere. "How is it," he asked in an icy manner, "that the
Fundlemart Lead Corporation is always in the papers?" An
assistant suggested that he thought they had a publicitv
department. "Well, then," the executive decided, "we had
better have one, too."
Here again, an arbitrary decision was reached because
266 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
of need. Shortly thereafter, a man was hired at the going
rate in the territory and soon was stealing some of Fundle-
mart's publicity thunder.
As curative medicine, publicity lends its talents in many
ways. Its services are required for countless reasons. And
its financial rewards are as varied as the jobs and tasks it
performs. There is no set wage scale in the business, though
publicity specialists charge consistent prices for similar as-
In advertising, the American Association of Advertising
Agencies is a kind of governing board. It helped determine
that 15 per cent is a fair and ethical fee for advertising ac-
counts, and this is now universally accepted. There is no
parallel organization in the publicity world.
Seldom are budgets for publicity departments or activities
alike. For example, community and institutional advertising
(nonproduct) may be charged to the publicity department.
Displays, press conferences, sales entertaining, and other
company activities may be part of this budget. The chair-
man, say, has lunch with two local bankers. The cost is
fifteen dollars. The accounting department may charge this
amount to publicity or public relations for the reason that it
represents cultivation of good will or is an established com-
On the other hand, the budget may be so set up that no
activities incurred outside the publicity department are di-
rectly chargeable. These and a myriad of other items follow
no standard procedure, but vary from one company to an-
other. If the cost of promotional activity is to be evaluated
for budgeting purposes, however, a consistent policy within
the individual company is essential.
The Costs of Publicity 267
These questions should be answered in planning a pub-
What are the publicity aims?
What does the company wish to accomplish?
Why does it need publicity?
What are the reasons behind the program?
Is this a curative or preventive need?
What are the publics to be reached through public com-
Is the company interested principally in shareholders, em-
ployees, the community, the suppliers, dealers, government,
or other related publics? Should attention be focused on one,
two, or three publics, or all of them?
Where are these publics located and what are the best
ways we can reach them?
How much can the company afford to budget for publicity
and its related activities?
What can the company expect to get for its money?
Is it more economical to hire staff for this work, or to
engage a publicity agency?
chapter 20 Planning a Publicity Budget
A persuasive argument for employing outside counsel rather
that setting up a publicity activity within a company is that
it is at least as economical and may save a lot of bother;
it is easier to pay a fee plus expenses billed than to handle
the minutiae of a publicity office.
Against this, however, must be posed the advantages of
using present company employees part-time on publicity
work. Of 1,465 house-magazine editors polled by the Inter-
national Council of Industrial Editors, 52 per cent also had
other company duties, and 60 per cent of these worked in de-
partment other than publicity or public relations. The same
ratio probably applies in most companies employing less
Within the manufacturing or mercantile concern the ac-
counting department usually can absorb what extra book-
keeping is concerned with publicity with no undue strain.
The following budget analysis is presented without pre-
tensions, as a guide to usual publicity and public relations
practices some of which may not be too familiar to the con-
troller, more used to dealing with products than service.
The range is from $200 to $350 per month for a beginner
through all gradations to a rare $4,000 or $5,000 per month
Planning a Publicity Budget 269
for vice-presidential or equivalent timber in the largest com-
panies. A $2,000 figure for an assistant to president is above
average; $1,000 is about minimum, as of 1953.
Secretarial help is obtainable at the going rate in other
departments. A girl assistant in training or a secretary-
assistant ranks one or two notches higher in the scale.
Allowance should be made for hiring outside free-lance
writers and artists, according to need, at $50 to $150 per day,
or by the job from $150 up; photographic models at $10 per
hour and up; messengers, etc., on tasks in the field, and
emergency assistants of either gender at exhibits, press con-
ferences, and other special events.
TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH
These expenses should be budgeted at least as high as in
the sales or advertising departments.
A first-rate industrial photographer charges $100 to $150
per day, entitling his customer to about 20 pictures. A short
assignment costs $15 to $25, for three news-type pictures.
Glossy prints range from 50 cents to $1.50 each, depending
on quality and quantity. Publicity portraits need not cost
more than $10 per subject. Photography, though expensive,
is an indispensable publicity tool. In wide distributions, to
small-city newspapers, paper or plastic matrices, at about
20 cents for a two-column, 4-inch picture, are a means of
270 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
MIMEOGRAPHING AND PRINTING
It is advisable to release one mimeograph, multigraph, or
multilith machine for exclusive publicity use, or to send this
work to an outside shop. In the latter case, stencils should
be cut in the publicity office, for economy. Charges for sten-
cils, paper, and service are standard in most localities.
Printing costs vary to an incredible extent, even in a single
city. Elegance means expense, but is recommended in all
printed materials bearing the company's name. A good rule
of thumb is to order 10 per cent more of any printing job
than distribution plans call for, but the budget should be
watched. Unusable material is pure waste.
Publicity work demands first-class or air-mail postage. In
large organizations, special vigilance should be exercised to
prevent the mail room from using unsealed envelopes or
other penny-pinching devices, or from sending photographs
without corrugated cardboard ( not thin chip-board ) backing.
OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Desks, chairs, typewriters, filing cabinets, stationery, and
the other usual appurtenances of a business office are re-
quired; nothing out of the ordinary. The offices need never
be lavishly furnished or decorated.
TRAVEL AND ENTERTAINMENT
Normal expense allowances are called for, paralleling
those in the sales department. Careful records should be
kept, with bills from hotels, railroad and airline stubs, etc.
Planning a Publicity Budget 271
Newspaper and trade-magazine clipping bureaus charge
an average 10 cents per clipping; costs therefore mount with
publicity success. Other services monitor radio programs
for publicity items, at standardized fees.
USE OF OUTSIDE COUNSEL
On a multitude of business problems, consulting manage-
ment-engineering agencies are retained by business firms.
They advise on new markets, plant facilities, products,
finance, nearly everything except law or public relations.
Recognizing that different sets of talents and techniques are
needed in those two fields, management consultants leave
them alone. This is too bad, as regards public relations, for
its practitioners, also, are advisers to management. Several
large public relations agencies have moved nearer, by taking
over employee relations. When the two types of counseling
service become more mature, it is conceivable that some will
merge their interests, giving management integrated, all-
An often used argument for hiring publicity or public re-
lations service instead of establishing a department within
the company is that professional skills of an agency can
save time, get fast results economically, and dispense with
the need of providing office space and facilities, or office
help with its concomitant health, insurance, pension, and
other costly benefits. To provide equivalent service, the
agencies believe, a fairly large internal staff would be
For the company of 500 or fewer emplovees, outside ser-
272 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
vice may cost about half what a department would. A com-
pany of from 500 to 5,000 employees needs at least one pub-
licity man and a typist-assistant in its own offices. Large
companies with more than one plant will be well served by
having a publicity man and secretary-assistant in each, and
if total payroll is near 10,000 employees, a seasoned de-
partmental director at headquarters.
Particularly in the first two or three years after establish-
ment of such a department, outside counsel is often retained.
Many great national companies, employing publicity and
public relations staffs of from 20 to more than 100, still en-
gage counsel for policy advice in top management. However,
when a staff gets that big, it should be able to generate its
own momentum, under a director of vice-presidental stature
in the company.
Most but not all reliable public relations and publicity
counsel are members of the Public Relations Society of
America, American Public Relations Association, Industrial
Publicity Association, or other professional body. There is
no legal restraint to prevent anyone who chooses to call him-
self a public relations expert from hanging out his shingle.
The business is beset with unscrupulous and phony operators,
but serious effort is made by the respectable majority to
adhere to and promote ethical standards.
RANGE OF FEES
Customarily the charges for counseling and service are
made on a monthly -fee basis, ranging from $500 to $15,000
and up. In New York, where there is the greatest concentra-
tion, a base fee of $1,000 per month is considered fairly
average for a well-rounded program, with an additional
Planning a Publicity Budget 273
charge for time spent and expenses. Elsewhere it is less, but
elsewhere the practitioner is under the handicap of not being
at the nerve center of national communications.
News traditionally travels from East to West. All the press
associations, television and radio networks, and most indus-
trial and mass-circulation magazines are headquartered in
New York. This is not to deprecate the completely adequate
service that counsel in other cities render. In particular, two
"chains" of public relations agencies, operating in many
cities, have been formed, with joint publicity-placement fa-
cilities in New York.
The span of retainer fees may seem unusual, but the dif-
ference lies in the scope of activities for the client and the
size of the publicity or public relations organization. The
biggest firms in the business maintain departments for press,
radio, TV, magazine, booklet, and speech- writing activities.
Payroll and overhead expenses are high. Every type of pub-
licity service is immediately available with specialists at the
beck and call of the client. Only those trade associations and
companies with major resources can afford to hire such facili-
ties; agencies of more modest size, with fewer personnel but
equivalent competence, cost less for service because obvi-
ously the scale of operations is somewhat reduced.
Generally, no formal contract is signed, beyond an ex-
change of letters betwen counsel and client. Nor is a term
set for renewal, though a six-month trial period usually is
specified. The arrangement continues until one party or the
other gives either sixty or ninety days' notice. Even counsel
whose charges run in the topmost brackets operate on this
basis quite successfully. Many a relationship so begun has
lasted twenty years or more.
274 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
BASIS OF FEES
Publicity departments of advertising agencies ( which may
do dealer and other new-product publicity as part of the
advertising service) keep records of the time spent by em-
ployees on each account. This permits calculation of the sal-
ary and labor cost to the agency. This cost is the basis of
computation of overhead expense. To printing, art work, etc.,
advertising agencies normally add a 15 per cent handling
Public relations agencies more usually charge a set stand-
by and supervision fee of $500 to $5,000 per month, repre-
senting overhead and profit, and add charges for the actual
time spent and at the actual salary rate of all personnel re-
When clients insist on a flat over-all monthly fee, the
agency simply includes probable staff costs, leaving a reason-
able margin. Because of the informal nature of the agree-
ment, as mentioned above, adjustments can readily be made
whenever the basis is proving unfair to either side.
A small publicity agency in New York took on a client at
$10,000 per year. Because of internal difficulties, the client
was unable to give the agency much basis for publicity. At
the end of three months, the arrangement was reviewed and
the fee cut to $500 per month. In another case, when an
agency provably increased sales volume for the client by
about $200,000 through publicity, the fee was raised by
agreement from $1,000 per month to $1,500.
Some flexibility is needed in any public relations budget,
because unforeseeable factors are so common. Expenditures
in a given month may go far above the estimate. Too rigid
Planning a Publicity Budget 275
a restriction may result in a job half done. If economy is
needed, to stay within an annual appropriation, the needed
adjustments can be made later; but an allowance for con-
tingencies is a wise provision. In many successful operations,
this is set at 10 per cent of the over-all annual appropriation.
Reputable publicity agencies do not accept business on the
basis of a rise in price of shares or other client holdings. The
practice of basing charges on one-third to one-half what the
printed space gained by publicity would have cost as adver-
tising also is looked on as shyster business. It implies a com-
plete misconception on the part of both client and agency
of the nature and purpose of publicity.
Rates go up sharply for handling single campaigns of one
to three months, such as a civic welcome, a testimonial din-
ner, an association's annual convention, or a fund-raising cam-
paign. In this class of business, called in the argot of publicitv
a quickie or a one-shot, the theatrical press agent, trade-
and convention-show publicist, or fund expert is more at
home than the typical business or industrial publicity agencv.
However, if the head of a client company has a pet organi-
zation or philanthropy, he probably will ask his regular
agency to handle the work.
In fund raising, the standard charge is a percentage of the
goal, no matter how much is raised or the time spent. All
phases of the drive or campaign are handled by one agencv.
For other quickies, an acceptable formula is to double the
normal fee and all charges except out-of-pocket.
A counselor should remember his own public relations in
handling charity drives. He is a citizen as well as a profes-
276 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
sional man. He should be willing to a reasonable extent to
donate his services and those of his organization, when the
philanthropy is of national scope or is located in his own
town or city. Obvious limits must be set to this loan of time
and talent, but bread cast on the waters has a way of re-
turning spread with molasses. One important precaution
should be taken, however. Do not take the bread out of the
mouth of another counselor who makes his living in service
to philanthropic institutions.
The base fee charged by public relations counseling agen-
cies does not include out-of-pocket expenses, such as those
for travel, telephone, art work, postage, printing, meals in
certain instances, and entertaining. When money is expended
in behalf of the client, he is billed at the end of each month.
The advertising practice of adding 15 per cent handling
charge is not commonly followed by public relations counsel.
A publicity counsel traveled from New York City to Bos-
ton, to call on New England newspaper editors. The client
was to be charged for travel, to and from New York; meals
while the publicity man was away from home; the cost of a
hotel room; taxi, bus, and subway fares in Boston; telephone
calls; entertaining of the editors; tips to porters and waiters
and for other small services. In other words, the publicity
man spent a certain amount of money out of his own pocket,
and since it was all in the interest of the client, he charged
it all up.
A monthly retainer entails certain specified or implied
obligations on the part of the publicity counsel. He may
agree to perform certain tasks for a stated fee. These may
Planning a Publicity Budget 277
include writing speeches, handling newspaper, radio, and
TV contacts, putting on a trade show, organizing an anniver-
sary program. His time and talent are worth a certain
amount. He may even agree to spend a definite number of
hours on the account. Beyond this, as unforeseen opportuni-
ties to obtain publicity arise, he is expected to exploit them.
A reputable publicity counsel never guarantees publica-
tion of material in any newspaper or magazine, or promises
free time on a TV or radio show. The well-liked professional
publicity man hopes in many ways to increase the prestige of
his client and tries in an ethical manner to get newsaper
publicity and perform other tasks according to agreement,
but he cannot with honesty guarantee space or time that he
does not control.
chapter 21 Toward Maturity
Most children and many adults who lack the easy self-as-
surance and confidence of the truly mature tend to be boast-
ful. "My Daddy and General Eisenhower won the war,"
says the ten-year-old, and we smile, recognizing that this
is but the half-truth of a child. "That AP break means the
entire country knows about our new product," says the
would-be publicity man. Nobody believes him for a minute,
for his statement is childishly exaggerated.
No, not nobody. The claims made for publicity results
do impress those who are indifferent, uninitiated, or shallow.
Much talk is made about the professional standing of public
relations practitioners and why they deserve status with the
engineer, the attorney, and the physician. But an engineer
has a bridge, say, to show for his effort; the lawyer won his
case; the physician restored his patient to health. How can
the publicist prove to the skeptical that he, too, is a pro-
A publicity article, based on scientific research and ap-
pearing in The New York Times, brought about a $200,000
apparatus sale. One reader of the Sunday Times, among its
1,300,000, was more important, in that instance, than all
the rest. A "Speaking of Pictures" feature in Life magazine,
used by a salesman, clinched a contract for night-lighting an
Toward Maturity 279
athletic field. Six members of a city council who reacted to
that publicity were worth more to the lighting manufacturer
than all the rest of Life's 5,200,000 readers. A philanthropic
organization paid a publicity worker $5,000 to write a book.
It was elegantly illustrated, printed, and bound— 100 copies
only. Copy No. 26 resulted in a contribution of $250,000.
The claim is commonly made that publicity, being in-
tangible, is not really measurable, and therefore the company
that pays for it should not expect to relate it to anything
but vague feelings of virtue and good will. At the risk of
heresy, the present writers believe that results, clearly dem-
onstrated, are the only justification for a publicity or public
relations program. True, there need not always be a dollar
sign to show; but certainly something of real value.
A NEW-PRODUCT STORY
A chemical manufacturer hired a five-man publicity bu-
reau at $l,000-per-month fee, including time charges, and a
$l,000-per-month allowance for out-of-pocket expense, to
publicize a seasonal product over a six-month trial period,
with the usual provision of termination after that, on ninety
days' notice by either party.
Because the sales program had been tardily determined,
the publicity firm was given only forty-eight hours, instead
of the usual two weeks, in which to stage a press conference
and get publicity started. Telegrams of invitation costing
$150 total were sent to editors of newspapers, wire services,
feature syndicates, business and general magazines, and
radio stations. There was nothing to be televised, so TV was
At the press conference held at a New York hotel, the
280 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
scientist who had developed the product gave a ten-minute
talk, showed lantern slides of the research, and answered
questions. A typical one and one-half page "handout" re-
lease was distributed to the twenty-five editors and writers
who attended, and copies were sent to the others invited who
could not come. The cost of the press conference was $275,
with an additional $50 for later distribution.
All the wire services, four metropolitan newspapers, Time,
Business Week, and fourteen business and general magazines
carried the publicity, as did one national and one regional
radio network. The story, appearing in Retailing Daily,
brought about a telephone call from the purchasing agent
of a national variety-store chain, who bought half the com-
pany's output for the season. Other inquiries, directly re-
sulting from the publicity, compelled the manufacturer to
increase his anticipated output.
Many counselors and public relations executives of com-
panies would have considered this true national coverage
and would have assured the company or client that he had
swept the country. The realistic counselors in this case, how-
ever, turned in a confidential report from which the follow-
ing excerpt is taken by permission:
The clipping services sent us 82 clippings of the wire service
story, representing a newspaper circulation of approximately
19,500,000. (See tabular report for clippings from all sources.)
We do not believe the usual claim of four readers for each pub-
lication justified. If 10 per cent of the readers saw this story, you
are fortunate; if 5 per cent remembered it, that would be phe-
nomenal (in our book) and if 1 per cent went to a store and
asked for the product, your projected production capacity would
be sold out.
To tell you the truth, neither we nor anybody else really
Toward Maturity 281
knows what this story did. There is a fable in our business that
clipping bureaus turn up only 15 to 20 per cent of stories actually
published. Who can prove that? We certainly can't.
It would obviously be too expensive for you to take on the
task of really investigating how many people read and remember
publicity stories on products. The wire service break was won-
derful, the No. 1 publicity outlet in the country. We only wish
we knew how many of your inquiries are traceable to it.
The publicity firm in its report advised following up the
first release with distributions of new material to 487 radio
commentators, 176 metropolitan and 1,600 smaller dailies,
and 4,500 weeklies, at a cost, including mats, of $1,475.
Again, this commendable effort was bound to bring some
results, but nobody was in position to demonstrate just how
extensive they were.
FIGURES DON'T LIE, BUT . . .
There is need for the public relations profession to lay
down a true basis of measurement of its own work. In mar-
keting and advertising, great strides have been taken; in
politics, the score is less impressive, but an effort is made.
Publicity people should not be content to show scrapbooks
and radio reports of noses counted to their clients, but should
make a grown-up and not superficial attempt to back up
publicity with evaluation. If clipping bureaus are inadequate,
their service should be supplemented. Here is a worth-while
research project going begging.
Meanwhile, conservative reports on results obtained are
more convincing than the use of exaggeration. Management
of a company with twenty-three plants challenged the figures
of its own publicity department. These showed astronomical
282 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
circulation of publicity at a time when sales were off. The
figures did not stand up under analysis. No deliberate de-
ception was involved, but the total circulation of newspapers
and magazine in which publicity appeared had been added
together. In a group of farm magazines with several regional
editions, for example, the total circulation for all was re-
ported, though one clipping in one regional edition was its
Many metropolitan papers run from three to ten editions
daily. A clipping does not necessarily tell the truth about how
many persons were exposed to the story, for the story may
have been printed in a bulldog edition and been dropped
A national radio network may have 250 stations for a
national broadcast, commercially sponsored, but drop to
180 for its own sustaining program on which a publicity re-
lease was used.
If returns tend to indicate that a single story reached more
people than there are of reading age in the United States,
the publicity man should be suspicious.
PRESTIGE IN THE COMPANY
A promising young publicity man was advised by his
superior to start wearing a hat to and from his office. Puzzled,
the youth asked, "Do you mean I should take myself more
seriously?" The senior man replied, "No, you should take
your work more seriously, and let top-management men see
that you regard your stature in the company as being com-
parable to that of other executives."
In the sedate Wall Street offices where this interchange
Toward Maturity 283
occurred, the point was well-taken. Working on the same
floor with administrative officers of the company, the able
young man had been as invisible as an office boy. By giving
himself a more mature appearance, more in keeping (in
management's view) with his duties and status, he rose in
To many, such an atmosphere would seem absurdly stuffy
and pompous. So it would be in a Western city, or a small
town where the president of the company may be Jim or Joe
to the porter and the elevator man. The point of complying
with the mores of a particular company is that it is a rapid
and easy way to identify oneself with the group to which
one considers one belongs.
Business publicity as presently practiced is only about
thirty years old. It still has to make its way into the real and
unreserved confidence of most top managements, especially
in small and medium-sized companies. Though given credit
for vigor and imagination, its practitioners are too seldom
thought of as executives who should sit at the council table
when policy decisions are in the making.
This reserve toward publicity personnel may be mostly top
management's fault; it may be due to jealousy of preroga-
tives partly, to resistance to change, and to other psycho-
logical factors— none of which alters the fact that public
relations often is treated like a permanent guest, not a mem-
ber of the inner family. And it may be due to the fact that
publicity men have not given their full measure of ability
to the jobs at hand.
How can this be changed in the individual business? It is
not impossible. Again in danger of heresy, the present writers
284 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
think it can be done by the development of a nonaggressive
attitude, holding firm on basic principles, but not necessarily
In one company which appropriates $500,000 per year for
public relations, of which $100,000 goes for press relations
(publicity), the heads of five divisions nevertheless run spe-
cial publicity projects as they wish, without reference to the
PR head, and charge the expense to divisional sales.
Very bad, 'tis true, by the rule book. Actually, by acceding
to long-established prerogatives and declining to stand on
his rights, the PR head permits the divisional vice presidents
to retain the autonomy of their own domains, and in return
not one of them protests his annual assessment for the over-
all public relations budget.
The real merit gained is the demonstration that the PR
head knows how to handle a delicate situation. His boss, the
chairman, stood ready at any time to back him up if he in-
sisted on running all publicity matters in all divisions— but
was relieved to see him act like a "company man," sensitive
to the nuances of management. In time, the chairman expects
the original plan of an all-company integrated program to be
carried out to the last detail. For this he can afford to wait
a few years; and he rejoiced that his PR head also knows
patience and self-control.
Another means of coming closer to the council table is the
exercise of unusual courtesy in human relations. In one year,
a regional publicity man had his budget doubled. Other
factors entered in, but his unusual progress was at least
stimulated by these five thoughtful intracompany acts:
When an engineer was promoted, copies of the publicity
release went to his college and fraternity papers, both of
Toward Maturity 285
which printed it. Time-consuming work for microscopic pub-
lics, but never forgotten by the engineer.
Instead of clippings being routed to the fifteen offices in
his region, involving days and weeks, photostatic copies were
made, and all offices received all important regional pub-
licity at the same time, once a week.
After three months on the job, the regional publicity man
wrote a three-page outline of what he was trying to accom-
plish, and sent copies to the fifteen offices he served. True,
he had already explained, but this was a reminder that the
conversations had not been idle ones.
He requested fifteen extra copies of all news releases from
company headquarters, routing them to his points of contact.
(Before long, regional executives were calling him for in-
formation on general company affairs.)
The fifth "act" was to be cautious about offering sugges-
tions. The too facile proposal, even if sound, can impair the
standing of any newcomer.
Perhaps these small items should be obvious to anyone.
But the publicity man did get his budget doubled. And there
was no reserve toward him at the end of his first year, in
the highest echelons to which he had access.
PRESTIGE FOR COUNSEL
It is more difficult for outside public relations counsel to
gain a place in policy making, even on public relations mat-
ters. A few counselors of stature are invited to do so, how-
ever; usually after a long period of intimate acquaintance
with company affairs. Among the pioneers in counseling top
management is John W. Hill, president of Hill & Knowlton,
Inc., whose firm's relationship with the Avco Manufacturing
286 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Corporation was thus described in the Reports of the Na-
tional Industrial Conference Board:
At the corporate level, public relations activities are carried
out by public relations counsel retained by Avco. The counsel's
chief executive officer sits with the Avco board of directors at its
meetings, and a vice president of the counseling firm is an ex-
officio member of the corporation's public relations committee.
The latter also carries the title of public relations director for
Avco, with a position on the corporate organization chart show-
ing a direct line to the president and chief executive officer.
ADVICE FROM AN ALLY
When the treasurer or controller sits in on a public rela-
tions meeting, a distinct gain is made by the publicity execu-
tive or outside counsel. The financial man may stay in the
background, having little to say about a rather unfamiliar
subject; but nobody in the business organization sees the
chief exexcutive officer more frequently or is listened to more
intently. It is a misconception to think of the treasurer or
controller as colorless and retiring, no matter what his de-
meanor, for when the occasion comes to praise or criticize,
he knows both words and tune.
His comments on a front-page story or a prize-winning
annual report are made from a different point of view from
any other. They may sound negative at times, for caution has
been bred into him. He does not bet his bottom dollar on
the success of any proposal— or the company's bottom dollar.
Yet he does know how to say yes. He is more likely to do so
if he has been given a complete background on the proposal.
That is why his presence in conference is so important to the
ambitious publicity executive desirous of gaming recognition
of his department's own role in top management.
Toward Maturity 287
Sales, production, engineering, and research heads per-
force are in continuous contact with the treasurer or con-
troller, as a matter of ordinary routine. This is not so likely
to be true of public relations, whether managed inside or
outside the firm. There is a vacuum here, which will be filled
with information and background either from its source, or
after being filtered through the minds of others, who may
not always be friendly or sympathetic to public relations
In their interchanges with the financial executives, other
top-management people often seek more than approval of
expenditures, proposed or historical. They ask advice, too.
How often does a public relations head or counsel sit down
with a company treasurer for advice? Is he not more in-
clined to consider that advice is his own stock in trade, a
more or less exclusive commodity with him?
This is not a matter of currying favor, but of getting advice
that is worth while, practical, and usable. One publicity
counselor was amazed at the analytical review he obtained,
through a luncheon chat with a client company's treasurer.
The criticisms, given with amenity, were directed toward
the work of a former counselor, but the new one proved
bright enough to use them as a guide in his own organiza-
tion, on all his accounts.
The ex-counselor had brought on a crisis by a premature
request that he be invited to board meetings. Asked his
opinion, the treasurer had produced a score sheet:
The counsel had spent nearly all the appropriation, yet
carried out only three-fourths of proposed projects. He ex-
plained after the fact that this was due to lack of cooperation
in divisions. He should have kept top management informed
288 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
of the situation continuously but weakly refrained so as not
to "cause trouble." To the treasurer, this was evidence that
the counsel did not know how to handle people.
He entertained company officials too much. Did he take
editors and others out on a similar scale? If so, no explana-
tion of the need for lavishness had been forthcoming.
Photographic, printing, and mimeographing bills seemed
high. Why were fifty prints needed of a picture of a winner
of a suggestion award? There may have been a valid ex-
planation, but none was proffered.
No bill was rendered for a small printing job. The explana-
tion, upon inquiry: "Oh, we absorbed that; too small to
charge." This item disturbed the treasurer, he said, more
than an overcharge. To him it indicated poor practice, and
the generosity was not appreciated.
Telephone bills seemed disproportionate. The treasurer ad-
mittedly had no way of knowing. But he suspected the
counsel transacted most business at his desk, did a minimum
of leg work.
No subway or bus fares ever were charged, only taxis. The
treasurer recalled that Bernard Baruch is said to travel by
subway. With a smile, he said that he did, too.
In accounting for travel, no hotel bills or railroad stubs
were presented. "Of course he was not in the company, so
did not have to observe company rules," the treasurer con-
There was no accusation of fraud, padding bills or expense
accounts, only a feeling of vagueness, due entirely to lack
of careful explanations. In the treasurer's view, the ex-
counsel had "acted like an outsider, not a zealous guardian
of company money." That is why his opinion was negative,
Toward Maturity 289
when he was asked whether the counselor should have a
voice on policy matters in board meetings.
PRESTIGE AND PUBLICITY
The foregoing sections of this chapter deal with internal
matters of conduct and procedure among publicity and pub-
lic relations people. Their aim is to show ways of perfecting
performance. Now it should be added that this performance,
far from perfect, yet is on the whole of such caliber as to
justify the claim of public relations and its basic component,
publicity, to be considered as a serious, substantial profes-
By the use of publicity and the other public relations
techniques, a business or industrial company, government
agency on any level, philanthropic or welfare institution, or
college or university can definitely enhance prestige with
the public. We say definitely, and believe we have proved it
in this book.
Planned news in the press, with its extrapolations into
other media and through an engaging variety of activities,
makes a sound, permanent contribution to the American
economy. It is the surest means by which an organization
can justify its right to exist. With prestige— weight or influ-
ence derived from past success— the further right to leader-
ship can be exercised. And prestige is to be gained through
BOOKS FOR DAILY REFERENCE
Blue Book of Magazine Writers, Central Feature News, Inc.,
Broadcasting Yearbook and Telecasting Yearbook, Broadcasting
Publications, New York.
Directory of House Organs, Printers' Ink Publishing Co., New
Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals, N. W. Ayer & Son.,
Editorial Directory (Farm, Business, and Consumer Editions),
Galub Publishing Co., New York.
Industrial Relations Handbook, Dartnell Corp., Chicago.
International Yearbook, Editor and Publisher, New York.
Literary Market Place, R. R. Bowker Company, New York.
Nations Leading House Magazines, Gebbie Press, New York.
Publicity Checker, Bacon's Clipping Bureau, Chicago.
Rates and Data (Newspaper, Consumer, Business, Radio, and
Television Editions), Standard Rate and Data, Inc.,
UlricKs Periodicals Directory (Foreign, Business, and General
Periodicals), R. R. Bowker Company, New York.
Working Press of the Nation, Farrell Publishing Co., New York.
101 USEFUL BOOKS
Agricultural and Technical Journalism, Rodney Fox; Prentice-
292 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
America at the Movies, M. F. Thorp; Yale University Pi ess,
American Journalism, Julien Elfenbein; Harper, 1937.
Art of Useful Writing, Walter B. Pitkin; McGraw-Hill, 1940.
Blueprint for Public Relations, Plackard and Blackmon; McGraw-
Building a Popular Movement, Harold Levy; Russell Sage
Business Finds Its Voice, S. H. Walker; Harper, 1938.
Business Journalism, Julien Elfenbein; Harper, 1937.
Careers in Public Relations, Averill Broughton; Dutton, 1943.
Clear Writing for Easy Reading, Norman G. Shidle; McGraw-
Communications in Modern Society, Wilbur Schramm; University
of Illinois Press, 1948.
Educational Publicity, Benjamin Fine; Harper, 1943.
Effective Advertising, H. W. Hepner; McGraw-Hill, 1949.
Effective Public Relations, Cutlip and Center; Prentice-Hall, 1952.
Employees Are People, Harry K. Tootle; McGraw-Hill, 1947.
Films in Business and Industry, Henry C. Gipson; McGraw-Hill,
Fundamentals of Top Management, Ralph C. Davis; Harper,
Gauging Public Opinion, Hadley Cantril; Princeton University
Getting Results from Suggestion Systems, Herman W. Seinwerth;
Government Publicity, J. L. McCamy; University of Chicago
Guide to Public Opinion Polls, George Gallup; Princeton Uni-
versity Press, 1948.
How to Become Well Known, H. F. Woods; Duell, Sloan &
How to Conduct Consumer and Opinion Research, A. B. Blanken-
ship; Harper, 1946.
How to Develop Profitable Ideas, O. F. Reiss; Prentice-Hall, 1945.
How to Edit an Employee Publication, Garth Bentley; Harper,
How to Get Publicity, Milton Wright; McGraw-Hill, 1935.
How to Interpret Social Welfare, H. C. Baker; Russell Sage
How to Interview, Bingham and Moore; Harper, 1941.
How to Make Publicity Work, J. R. Ramsberger; Reynal & Hitch-
cock, Inc., 1948.
How to Take Industrial Photographs, Zielke and Beezley;
How to Talk With People, Irving J. Lee; Harper, 1952.
How to Use Pictorial Statistics, Rudolph Modley; Harper, 1937.
How We Advertised America, George Creel; Harper, 1920.
Human Nature and Management, Ordway Tead; McGraw-Hill,
Human Relations in Action, C. C. Thomason; Prentice-Hall, 1947.
Human Relations in Industry, Burleigh Gardner; Irwin, 1950.
Interpreting the Church through Press and Radio, R. E. Wolseley;
Language in Thought and Action, S. I. Hayakawa; Har court,
Let's Be Human, John L. Beckley; Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1947.
Magazine World, R. E. Wolseley; Prentice-Hall, 1951.
Magazines in The United States, J. M. Wood; Ronald, 1949.
Newspaper and Society, Bird and Merwin; Prentice-Hall, 1950.
Newspaperman and the Law, Walter A. Steigleman; W. C.
Newsroom Problems and Policies, Curtis D. MacDougall; Mac-
Opportunities in Public Relations, Shepard Henkin; Vocational
Guidance Manuals, 1951.
Personnel Management and Industrial Relations, Dale Yoder;
Pictorial Journalism, Vitray and Mills; McGraw-Hill, 1939.
Planned Industrial Publicity, George Black; Putman, Chicago,
294 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Plans of Men, Leonard W. Doob; Yale University Press, 1940.
Practical Public Relations, Harlow and Black; Harper, 1952.
Principles of Newspaper Management, J. E. Pollard; McGraw-
Print, Radio and Film in a Democracy, Douglas Waples; Univer-
sity of Chicago Press, 1942.
Printing and Promotion Handbook, Melcher and Larrick;
Profitable Publicity, Henry F. Woods; Dorset House, 1941.
Propaganda and Public Opinion in War and the Modern World,
R. D. Casey; Random House, 1940.
Propaganda, Communication and Public Opinion, Smith, Laswell,
and Casey; Princeton University Press, 1946.
Propaganda: Its Psychology and Technique, Leonard Doob;
Psychology of Rumor, Allport and Postman; Holt, 1947.
Publicity— How to Plan, Produce and Place It, Herbert M. Baus;
Publicity Primer, Marie D. Laizeaux; H. W. Wilson, 1945.
Public Opinion, J. W. Albig; McGraw-Hill, 1939.
Public Relations, Edward L. Bernays; University of Oklahoma
Public Relations and American Democracy, J. A. R. Pimlott;
Princeton University Press, 1951.
Public Relations: A Program for Colleges and Universities, W.
Emerson Reck; Harper, 1946.
Public Relations at Work, Herbert M. Baus; Harper, 1952.
Public Relations for Churches, Stewart Harral; Abingdon-Cokes-
Public Relations for Higher Education, Stewart Harral; University
of Oklahoma Press, 1942.
Public Relations for Retailers, Thomas Mahoney; Macmillan,
Public Relations Handbook, Philip H. Lesly; Prentice-Hall,
Public Relations in Action, Philip H. Lesly; Ziff-Davis, 1945.
Public Relations in Management, Wright and Christian; McGraw-
Public Relations in the Local Community, Louis B. Lundborg;
Public Relations in War and Peace, Rex Harlow; Harper, 1942.
Public Relations Principles and Problems, B. R. Canfield; Irwin,
Public Relations: Principles and Procedures, Sills and Lesly;
Radio and the Printed Page, Paul F. Lazarsfeld; Duell, Sloan &
Radio Broadcasting, Grenville Kleiser; Funk, 1935.
Radio News Writing and Editing, Carl Warren; Harper, 1947.
Radio: The Fifth Estate, J. C. Waller; Houghton Mifflin, 1946.
Reporter and The News, Porter and Luxon; Appleton-Century-
Research Methods in Public Administration, J. M. Pfiffner; Ronald,
Shareholder Relations Manual, Weston Smith; Financial World,
Sharing Information With Employees, A. R. Heron; Stanford
University Press, 1942.
Shifts in Public Relations, Dr. N. S. B. Gras; Boston Business His-
torical Society, 1945.
Showmanship in Public Speaking, Edward J. Hegarty; McGraw-
So Youre Publicity Chairman, Frances Fiske; McGraw-Hill, 1940.
Solving Public Relations Problems, Verne Burnett; Forbes, 1952.
Speak Up, Management, Newcomb and Sammons; Funk,
Successful Employee Publication, Bicklen and Breth; McGraw-
Technique of Handling People, Laird and Laird; McGraw-Hill,
Technique of the Picture Story, Mich and Eberman; McGraw-
296 Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Tested Public Relations for Schools, Stewart Harral; University of
Oklahoma Press, 1952.
Tyranny of Words, Stuart Chase; Harcourt, Brace, 1938.
Where to Sell Magazine Articles, Allard and Lin; W. C. Brown,
Words into Type, Skillin and Gay; Appleton-Century-Crofts,
Words That Won the War, J. R. Mock; Princeton University
Writers Handbook, A. S. Burack; The Writer, 1941.
Writing and Selling Feature Articles, Helen Patterson; Prentice-
Writing for Love or Money, Norman Cousins; Longmans, 1949.
Writing for the Business Press, Arthur Wimer; W. C. Brown, 1950.
Your Public Relations, Griswold; Funk, 1948.
Accidents, reports of, 249-251, 255-
Acme Newspictures, 45
Advertising, percentage of sales spent
as publicity, 3-5, 260
Air Reduction Company, 171
Airline disasters, reports of, 255-256
Aluminum Company of America, 230
American Association of Advertising
American Association of Nurserymen,
American Business, 53
American Druggist, 53
American Home, 54
American Institute of Steel Construc-
American Iron and Steel Institute,
176, 210, 217, 229
American Legion Magazine, 59
American Lumberman, 53
American Machinist, 53
American Press Association, 47
American Public Relations Associa-
American Viscose Corporation, 66
American Weekly, 48-49
Anniversaries, publicity on, 215
Appropriations for publicity, 261-262
Articles, audience for, 104
authors of, 99-103
feature, 96-97, 102-103
Articles, outlines of, 104
placement of, 104-105
speeches as, 103-104
style of, 98-99
topics for, 98
use of, 106-107
Associated Press, The, 38, 41, 109
Photo Service, 45
Audience, for articles, 104
for company magazines, 188-189
for speeches, 77-82
Authors, company, 99-101
spokesmen as, 101-102
Avco Manufacturing Company, 196,
Ayer, N. W., & Son, 104
Baldwin and Mermey, 254
Barrington Associates, Inc., 83
Better Homes and Gardens, 54
Black Star photo agency, 45
Blackmon, Hendley, 105
Books, company, 64-65
Booth Newspapers, 40
Borden Company, The, 217, 236,
Branch plants as sources, 30-33
Brochures (see Pamphlets)
Buck, Wendell, 215
Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Budget, and advertising, 262-264
analysis of, 268-277
planning, 267, 268
publicity value of, 264-265
Business books, 67
Business magazines, 52-53
Business Week, 52, 179, 280
new product do's and don'ts, 52
(See also Photography)
Canadian National Railways, 84
Central Press Association, 44
Chains, newspaper, 40-41
Chicago Tribune-New York News
Chilcott Laboratories, 226
Chrysler, Walter P., 206
Civil Engineering, 53
Clipping services, cost of, 271
Cochran, Negley D., 212
Collier's, 59, 102
Community relations, 217-248
benefits of local industries, 224-
contributions to welfare projects,
and labor policies, 226-227
of large companies, 218-219
newpapers in, 230-233
objectives of, 221-224
open house, 238-240
participation in local activities,
and political influence, 228-229
and pollution by factories, 207,
prejudices overcome by, 224-229
of small companies, 219-221
television and radio in, 233
visits to plants, 233-240
Company authors, 99-101
Company books, 64-66
Company magazines, 178-189
audience for, 188-189
contents of, 183-186
for customers, 186-188
design of, 181-183
purpose of, 179-180, 186
Cooperative exhibits, 201-202
Costs of publicity, 260-267
appropriations for, 261-262
percentage spent for, 262-264
( See also Budget )
Counsel, budget provision for, 271-
fees of, 272-276
prestige for, 285-286
use of, 271-272
Country Gentleman, 55
Crosley, The Voice of, 176
Current Events, 58
De Chant, John W., 231, 250
Denver Post, 48
Department heads, 19-20
Des Moines Register-Tribune Syndi-
Displays (see Exhibits)
Division heads, 19-20
Dmitri, Ivan, 109
Dow-Jones financial news service, 38,
Dun's Review, 53
Du Pont de Nemours, E. I., & Com-
Editors, of general magazines, 60-62
of household magazines, 54-55
of newspapers, 38-40
Educational pamphlets, 173-175
Educational relationships, 234, 243-
Elks Magazine, 59
Employee-information manuals, 175-
Employee magazines (see Company
Engineering departments as sources,
Executives as sources, 17-20
press shows, 194-195
trade shows, 197-199
window and lobby, 202-203
Expenses (see Budget; Costs of pub-
Factories, branch, 30-33
community relations of (see Com-
publicity for, 26-28, 207-211
visits to, 233-240
Factory Management and Mainte-
Facts pamphlets (see Pamphlets)
Farm Journal, 55
Farm magazines, 55-57
Faulty products, 253-255
Feature and photo services, 44-45
Fees in public relations, basis of,
range of, 272-273
Financial World, 53, 245, 247
Fountain, Joe H., 84
Gannett Newspapers, 40
General Electric Company, 60, 218,
General Motors Corporation, 144,
Ghost writing, 99-101
Gipson, Henry Clay, 154
Good Housekeeping, 54
Gray and Rodgers, 254
Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Com-
Hammond Bag and Paper Company,
Harding College, 152
Harvard Business Review, 53
Hearst Newspapers, 40, 41, 48
Hepner, H. W., 263
Hibbs, Benjamin, 60
Hill, John W., 285
Hill & Knowlton, Inc., 186, 243, 285
Historical publicity, 206-216
for companies, 207-212
photographs for, 122-123
for products, 213-214
time capsule, 199-200
House Magazine Institute, 186
House magazines (see Company
Household magazines, 53-55
Hudson's Bay Company, The, 187
(See also Photographs)
Industrial books, 66-68
Industrial magazines, 53
Industrial Publicity Association, 17:!.
Industry and publicity, 6-8
International Business Machines Cor-
International News Photos, 45
Publicity for Prestige and Profit
International News Service, The, 38,
Interviewing, technique of, 12-16
Ironworks, first, at Saugus, Mass.,
Jackson, Merrick T., 179
Johns-Manville Corporation, 234-
Jossel, Leonard, 171
Judson Pacific-Murphy Corporation,
Kaufmann, M. R., 171
King Features Syndicate, 44
Kiwanian Magazine, 59
Labor policies in community rela-
Labor troubles, reports of, 251-252
Ladies' Home Journal, 54
Lamp, The, 178
Lederle Laboratories Division, 228,
Lehigh Structural Steel Company,
house magazine of, 185
Lewis, Don E., 229
Liggett, Louis K., 212
Lobby displays, 202-203
MacCarry, Noel J., 228, 257
McCreery, Otis C, 230
Magazine articles (see Articles)
Magazines, business, industrial, and
Magazines, company (see Company
employee and customer, 59
photographs for, 121-122
Major branch of company, 31
Manhattan Life Insurance Company,
Manuals, information, 175-177
(See also Pamphlets)
Mechanix Illustrated, 59
Media, definition of, 36
Metropolitan Life Insurance Com-
survey of house magazines by,
Ministers, survey of, 222
Minor unit of company, 31
Missouri Publishers Association, 47
Monsanto Chemical Company, 249
Motion pictures, 142-163
distribution of, 160-162
fictional, 149-150, 155
institutional publicity, 150-153
producers of, 153-154
as publicity medium, 162-163
script for, 156
technical adviser for, 156-157
on television, 143-145
Moynahan, John, and Associates, 250
Mullen, T. R., 225, 226
Myths, industrial, 224-229
National Association of Manufac-
turers, 144, 202
National Association of Science
National Education Association Jour-
National Industrial Advertising Asso-
Nations Business, 53
Nee, Raymond M., 257
Neff, Walter H., 225
Nelson, Charles, 113
New Haven Railway Company, 249
New product, introducing, 52, 191
press kits on, 192-194
press showing for, 194-195
story of, 279-281
New York Herald Tribune, 48
New York Post Syndicate, 44
New York Publishers Association, 47
New York Times, 48, 278
Newark airport, closing of, 255-
News, accidental, 1
of accidents and disasters, 249-
on labor troubles, 251-252
as publicity, 1-3
sources of, 10-35
in speeches, 75-76
News releases, contents of, 87-90
datelines in, 85
headings in, 85-86
identification in, 83-84
subheads and symbols in, 86-87
variants of, 90-92
News services, feature and photo,
Newspapers, chains of, 40-41
in community relations, 230-233
departments of, 38-40
editors of, 38-40
Newspapers, foreign-language, 37
Sunday supplements, 49-50
Newsweeklies, national, 50-53
No-budget program of public rela-
Oil, Paint, and Drug Reporter, 53
Old products, publicity on, 213-214
(See also Historical publicity)
Open house in plants, 238-240
Oscar-of-Industry awards by Finan-
cial World, 247
clearance of, 172
design of, 170-172
printing of, 173
writing of, 167-170
Past history (see Historical public-
Pendray, G. Edward, 199
People, in photographs, 108-111
publicity on, 27-28, 215-216
in television and radio programs,
Perry Newspapers, 40
Philadelphia Inquirer, 48
Photo sendees, 44-45
professional, 1 1 7- 1 1 S
Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Photographs, captions for, 126
imagination in, 112-114
presentation of, 122-123, 125-
subjects for, 108-112, 115-116
use of, 120
services for, 44-45, 116-118
technique of, 113-116
Picture magazines, 63
Plants (see Factories)
Policy for publicity, 11-12
Political influence in community re-
Poor Richard's Almanack, 179
Popular Mechanics, 59
Popular Science Monthly, 59
President as spokesman, 17-19
Press (see Newspapers)
Press conference, 92-95
for speakers, 76
Press kits, 192-194
Press shows, 194-195
for company, 282-285
for counsel, 285-286
Processes, publicity on, 26-27
Producer, moving-picture, 153-154
Product publicity, 29-30, 279-281
new (see New product)
on television, 136-138
(See also Exhibits)
Production departments as sources,
Production Methods, 53
Products, faulty, 253-255
new (see New product)
Projects, community, 244-246
Prudential Family, 186
Public reaction to publicity, 8-9
Public relations, compared with pub-
as news sources, 10-12
Public-relations counsel (see Coun-
Public Relations Society of America,
Public speaking (see Speaking)
Publicity, and advertising, 3-5, 260
costs of, 260-267
(See also Budget)
definition of, 4-6
departments handling, 261
evaluation of, 278-282
historical sources of, 206-216
and industry, 6-8
product (see Product publicity)
public reaction to, 8-9
and public relations, 4-6
Publicity men, activities of, 8-9
relations with minor employees,
Publicity Record, 186
Pyrene Manufacturing Company,
Quadland, H. P., 245
Radio, speeches on, 77-79
(See also Television and radio)
Randall, Clarence, 101
Reader's Digest, 59, 102
Reference books, 68
Religious magazines, 57-58
Research departments as sources, 20-
Results of publicity, 34-35, 278-
Retailing Daily, 53
Rexall Drug, Inc., 186
Riggs, Eddie, 249
Rockland County Journal-News, 257
Rosenthal, Joseph, 109
Rotarian Magazine, 59
Rouge News, 180
Rural New Yorker, 55
Salaries in public relations, 268-269
Sales, percentage of, spent for adver-
Sales departments as sources, 28-30
Saturday Evening Post, 59, 102, 202
Saugus, Mass., first ironworks at,
Schools, community relations with,
Science Clubs of America, 244
Science Service, 45, 174
Scientific American, 53
Scripps-Howard Newspapers, 40, 41,
Script, motion-picture, 156
Shawinigan Journal, 189
Sheet Metal Worker, 53
Shows (see Exhibits)
Sloan, Alfred P., Jr., 247
Smith, Weston P., 246
Smoke, Stephen D., 186
Southern Agriculturalist, 55
Speakers, coaching of, 72-73
in community relations, 241-243
sources of, 71, 80-82
Speakers' bureau, 79-82
Speaking, difficulties of, 69-70
opportunities for, 71-72
Speeches, arrangements for, 73-75
as articles, 103-104
audiences for, 77-82
preparation of, 72-73
Spokesmen, as authors, 101-102
for companies, 17-19
Springfield Republican, 199
Standard Oil Company (N. J.), 178,
Standard Oil Company of Ohio, 47
Standard Rate & Data Service, 104
Statistics as sources, 24-25
Steelways, 178, 187
Sterling Drug, Inc., 253
Strikes and lockouts, public relations
Studebaker Corporation, 228
Sunday supplements, 49-50
Technical magazines, 53
Telephone conversations, 37
Television and radio, 127-141
in community relations, 233
contacts in, 128-130
moving pictures on, 143-145
programs, institutional, 133-134
as publicity medium, 135-141
speeches on, 77-79
syndicated material for, 140-141
writing for, 130-133
Textile World, 53
This Week, 48-49
Time capsule, 199-200
Trade shows, 197-199
Traveling exhibits, 200
United Air Lines, 255
United Press, The, 41
Special Services, 45
United States Stool Corporation. 260
Publicity for Prestige and Profit
Verity Day at Middletown, Ohio,
Visits to plants, 233-240
Wallace, De Witt, 60
Wallace s Farmer, 55
Wedding, Prof. Nugent, 261
Western Newspaper Union, 47
Westinghouse, George, 212
Westinghouse Electric Corporation,
66, 105, 141, 155, 224, 228
Who's Who in America, 64
Wide World Photo Service, 45
Willys, John N., 212
Window displays, 202-203
Woman's Day, 187
Woman's Home Companion, 55
World War II, 21, 64, 109, 150, 248,
Wright, Hamilton, 148
Writing, magazine articles, 99-103
for television and radio, 130-133
Young America, 58
Yutzy, Thomas D., 219-221
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